Sunday, May 16, 2010

'Obliterating' Iraq's Christians

What is most startling about the report of the heartless double bus bombings on May 2 that targeted and injured 80 Christian students traveling to northern Iraq's Mosul University was that the young Christians there attend university at all. Since the U.S. invasion, Iraq's Christians have been mostly driven out of the country by violence directed against them for their religion. Their communities are shattered. That these young people continued to dream of preparing themselves to serve their country signals that community's deep commitment to Iraq and a modicum of hope they still harbor for its future.

Unless the Obama administration acts fast to develop policies to help them, though, their hope will likely be in vain.

Relentless waves of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, extortions and rapes have triggered a mass exodus of Christians from Iraq over the past seven years. Since 2003, over half of the estimated 1.5 million Iraqi Chaldean Catholics, Assyrian, Syriac Orthodox, and Armenian Christians, as well as some Protestants have fled to Syria, Jordan and farther flung places. While only 3 or 4 percent of Iraq's pre-2003 population, they account for 40 percent of its refugees, the UN reported.
Read the rest here.

8 comments:

David said...

There is a huge Iraqi Catholic Church going up in the unincorporated part of Sacramento County known as Orangevale. I am going to visit at least once when it opens so that my daughter gets a taste of what it truly means to be a Christian, that we are diverse and unrestrained by race.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

David - if we are truly "unrestrained by race," then there is no need for a Catholic parish founded on distinctly ethnic principles. What would your position be on an "Anglo-Saxon Catholic" parish in Italy?

I am confident there are any number of Catholic parishes in Sacramento that could be made available for Iraqi refugees to hear services in their native tongue. Their children will have no need of an ethnic-based parish unless, in fact, the idea is to perpetuate a distinct (as in, no outmarriage) ethnos.

David said...

They are in union with Rome not Roman Catholic. I am sure I would be welcomed there by some and not by others similar to Orthodoxy. I wish there was only one liturgy that all churches used and that there were no divisions of any kind. That isn't the reality. Who knows maybe an Anglican parish already exist in Italy I doubt there is an Anglican Use parish there but Italy is different than America, what is an American? What is an Italian?

Anonymous said...

Anti-Gnostic,

I'll echo David that they are not Roman Catholics.
Don't worry about the young people assimilating-- in my hometown there are churches that were founded as German, French, Swedish, and Spanish-speaking that are all English speaking, now. I do ministry with immigrant and second generation Asian young people who are too eager to shed their cultural roots. My wife's formerly Arabic-speaking church has been English speaking for a generation and a half, but it retains its Byzantine rite. I'm glad the ethnos is preserved, although half of it is now blond haired. Don't worry, the third generation can only say "Nishkil Allah", "smalluh", "kibbeh" and "harah."

Besides that, after the disaster we unleashed on their homeland I am glad that somewhere there will be a fragment of their ancient culture and faith preserved. Its more thanks to Bush (and us) than Saddam Hussein that they are now a scattered refugee population.

By the way, there are Anglo-Saxon parishes, Catholic and Anglican, in Italy. I used to attend Christ Church, Naples.

Anglo-Catholic priest in LA

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I am sure I would be welcomed there by some and not by others similar to Orthodoxy. I wish there was only one liturgy that all churches used and that there were no divisions of any kind. That isn't the reality.

Hence, in a State with no ethnic requirement for membership and in a Church in which there is neither Jew nor Greek, we are nonetheless restrained by race.

Anonymous said...

Think of ethnos as being a people bound as much by culture as by genome. I never realized how "American" I was until I lived abroad both in the military and as a student. I learned that "ethnically" I was as much or more related to black American as I was to the Italians I physically resembled.

Anyway, try to think of culture or "ethnos" as a positive and organically changing -- not static -- being. I'm opposed as you to "race" as a meaningful governmentally mandated category here in the US, but suppressing difference is even worse. Would you like us all to be what, exactly? All Southern Baptists (or alternatively all NO Catholics singing from the same OCP missal/hymnal) that eat the same General Foods and Kraft and McDonald's products and shop at identical WalMarts from coast to coast and around the world?

No thanks.

Anglo-Catholic in LA

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Would you like us all to be what, exactly? All Southern Baptists (or alternatively all NO Catholics singing from the same OCP missal/hymnal) that eat the same General Foods and Kraft and McDonald's products and shop at identical WalMarts from coast to coast and around the world?

No, because that's not my cultural or religious demographic. Of course, I'd also prefer not to see the US break up along its ethno-cultural fault lines.

The choice of ethnic and cultural diversity as a matter of deliberate policy is actually rather unique in the world. You don't see Lebanese, for example, telling you how boring their country is since practically everybody in their country is ethnically Lebanese, speaks Arabic, listens to Lebanese music, and eats Lebanese food.

David said...

We aren't restrained by race, we are restrained by tradition. You can take a member out of one race as a infant and raise he or she in a tradition foreign to his or her ancestral tradition. Ideally for me I would like to be familiar with the different traditions to have a greater bond and appreciation for cultural traditions and local customs. I think Orthodoxy is the most open without compromising right theology and right belief.