They Cry in Silence Jan/Feb 2007
>Before the November elections in the United States, politicians burned the roads and airwaves trying to convince voters they had the solution to the dilemma Saddam Hussein and his henchmen brought to Iraq and the Middle East. But murder continues in Iraq, and many of those being killed are Christians. In fact, a particular group of Iraqi Christians is in danger of being wiped out.
So-called insurgents (they actually are nothing more than an army of terrorists with an agenda to rule or ruin) have seized a long hoped-for opportunity to drive Christians from their midst. Reliable reports tell us that as many as 60,000 Iraqi Christians—probably a low figure—have fled the country since the insurgency began in 2003. In 1987 the Iraqi census listed 1.4 million Iraqi Christian citizens. Today only 600,000 or so remain.
According to a UN report, 200,000 Assyrian Christians, whose Christian roots are particularly ancient, have emigrated, leaving only 20,000 in the country. Iraq’s Christian communities are among the oldest in the world, said to exist since A.D. 34. Many Christian Iraqis still speak Aramaic—a language Jesus and the apostles spoke.
The cause of the exodus is militant discrimination. Christians have become regular victims of harassment, severe persecution, intimidation, and murder.
According to an article by British foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock, vice president of the Human Rights Subcommittee of the European Parliament, Christian women are frequently threatened for not obeying strict Islamic dress ordinances. Some have had acid thrown in their faces; others have been killed for wearing Western clothing or for refusing to wear a veil. The article, posted on the Web site of International Christian Concern, said Iraq’s Assyrian Christians are “at risk of annihilation.”
Last year, Islamic extremists car-bombed six churches in Baghdad and Kirkuk. Six more were simultaneously bombed in Baghdad and Mosul. Wrote Tannock: “Over the past two years, 27 Assyrian churches have reportedly been attacked for the sole reason that they were Christian places of worship.”
Many of the refugees who have hoped to gain asylum in the United States or other Western countries are in Jordan, where they live in poor conditions. They cannot work, pursue an education, or receive any public benefits.
According to Assyrian International News Agency, a 30-year-old woman who fled Iraq with her eight-year-old son still languishes in Jordan. She left Baghdad after her husband was imprisoned and her family threatened. They surrendered all of their money and valuables to one of Saddam Hussein’s soldiers to make it across the border into Jordan, intending to stay temporarily before being reunited with family in America, the news agency reported. That was six years ago. Today she and her son hide in a one-room apartment. She fears she will be discovered and returned to Iraq, where her husband is likely dead and where she will be severely persecuted.
“We are only two people,” she said. “Me and my little boy. We have no family, no future here. I don’t understand why it has to be so hard.”
But it is hard, and it will remain so until radical Islamist terror is no more.