THE POPE CAME TO SPAIN IN THE PAST 3 DAYS AND WAS CONCERNED ONLY WITH THE ATTACKS ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN SPAIN.
THAT IS HIS RIGHT! (THERE ARE REALLY VICIOUS ATTACKS ON RELIGIOUS PEOPLE COMING MAINLY FROM STALINISM WHICH WE ON 4INTERNATIONAL DEPLORE)
BUT WHY DID HE NOT SPEAK ABOUT THE HORROR THAT IS HAPPENING TO CATHOLICS AND CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ AT THE HANDS OF ISLAM?
WE OFFER 2 ARTICLES ON THE ISSUE, ONE BY ROBERT SPENCER IN 2009, ANOTHER ABOUT A FILM DOCUMENTARY MADE ABOUT THE SAME TIME:
On Sunday, July 12, Aziz Rozko Hanna, an Iraqi Christian who was serving as director of the Department of Financial Control of the city of Kirkuk, was driving with his daughter in Dumiz, a Christian neighborhood in Kirkuk, when he was stopped, pulled from his car, and shot dead in front of his daughter.
On the same day, five churches in Baghdad were bombed, wounding eight civilians. And all this has come after persecution and harassment that has led over half of the Christians in Iraq to leave the country in the last few years. The situation has gotten so bad that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baghdad, Jean Benjamin Sleiman, said in May: “I fear the extinction of Christianity in Iraq and the Middle East.”
Sleiman has good reason to fear. In 1909, the Middle East was 20 percent Christian; one hundred years later, that percentage has fallen to five percent. This decline is directly related to the resurgence of the Islamic jihad and Islamic supremacism around the world in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As Muslimsreassert traditional Islamic legal stipulations mandating and institutionalizing discrimination against and harassment of Christians, Christians all over the Islamic world are feeling the heat.
Quasi-secular despots such as Saddam Hussein were not interested in enforcing the provisions of Islamic law mandating second-class status for non-Muslims. (Saddam chose his murder victims on other bases.) Christians enjoyed relatively equal rights under his regime, but after he was toppled, things began to change radically. Groups dedicated to the imposition of Islamic law over the country began to victimize Christians on a large scale. In March 2007, Islamic gangs knocked on doors in Christian neighborhoods in Baghdad, demanding payment of the jizya — the special tax the Koran mandates for non-Muslims who submit to Islamic rule.
Nor was that the beginning of the terrorizing of Iraq’s Christians. In October 2006, a Syrian Orthodox priest, Fr. Boulos Iskander, was kidnapped in the Iraqi city of Mosul. He was never seen alive again. A Muslim group demanded $350,000 in ransom; they eventually lowered this to $40,000, but added a new demand: Fr. Boulos’ parish had to denounce the remarks made the previous month by Pope Benedict XVI in an address in Regensburg, Germany, that caused rioting all over the Islamic world. The ransom was paid, and the church dutifully posted 30 large signs all over Mosul, but to no avail: Fr. Boulos was murdered and dismembered, not necessarily in that order.
Five hundred Christians attended the funeral of Fr. Boulos Iskander. Another priest commented: “Many more wanted to come to the funeral, but they were afraid. We are in very bad circumstances now.”
This murder took place against a backdrop of increasing persecution of Christians in Iraq. Women were threatened with kidnapping or death if they did not wear a headscarf; in accord with traditional Islamic legal restrictions on Christians “openly displaying wine or pork” (in the words of a legal manual endorsed by Cairo’s venerable Al-Azhar University), liquor store owners in Iraq were threatened and some were murdered. Many of their businesses were destroyed, and the owners fled. A onetime Iraqi liquor store owner now living in Syria lamented that “now at least 75 percent of my Christian friends have fled. There is no future for us in Iraq.”
Now that Barack Obama is removing U.S. troops from Iraq, this resurgent Islamic supremacism will only gain momentum. Though he could have helped protect Iraq’s Christians, Obama has shown no interest in using his bully pulpit to alleviate their plight. Instead, Obama has manifested a disquieting eagerness to cozy up to Sharia regimes – notably the one in next-door Iran, which is working still to create a Shi’ite client state in Iraq. Christians, as well as other non-Muslims, will suffer increasingly, in direct proportion to Iran’s success in Iraq. Muslim persecution of Christians — built as it is into the foundations of Islamic theology and law — is only going to increase as the Islamic reawakening continues in the Muslim world. Obama should — if he had the guts and the vision that so many loudly proclaimed that he had — stand up and say, “No more.” But he won’t.
(There are many useful comments to this article. To see them visit)
JUST A COUPLE OF MONTHS BEFORE ROBERT SPENCER WROTE THE ARTICLE ABOVE THERE WAS LAUNCHED A VERY INFORMATIVE 30 MINUTE OR SO DOCUMENTARY ON THIS VERY SUBJECT. A REPORT WAS PUBLISHED ON THE VERY INFORMATIVE WEBSITE
Documentary on persecution of Christians in Iraq to be shown in Westlake Village
By Tom Kisken
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Robert Marcarelli witnessed 10-year-old girls sold as prostitutes in Cambodia. He delivered medicine to people forced from their homes in Darfur and saw parts of Sri Lanka turned into graveyards by a tsunami.
Courtesy photo Filmmaker Robert
Marcarelli, back row, second from left, accompanied by Iraqi bodyguards, journeys to isolated corners of Iraq. His documentary
on the persecution of Iraqi Christians will be shown at
Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village on Frida
But the Thousand Oaks filmmaker said the most shameful thing he has documented came in isolated, violent corners of northern Iraq. There, displaced people living in squalor told stories: of loved ones kidnapped and killed even after huge ransoms were paid, of men shot in the heads; and of families chased from their homes in Baghdad and elsewhere — all because they’re Christians.
“Whether you like the war or not, people should say ‘This should not stand. We should fix it,’ ” said Marcarelli, laying blame on the U.S. and Iraqi governments for not having a better plan to stem the violence and flood of refugees that civil unrest has generated. “These people put their trust in us and we abandoned them.”
His 30-minute documentary, “Facing Extinction: Christians of Iraq,” will be screened Friday night at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village. Of the nearly 5 million Iraqis uprooted over the past six years, the film focuses on the Christians who can trace their history in the region back some 2,000 years. Hundreds of thousands of them have fled to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and to northern Iraq.
They are targeted because they are neither Muslims nor Kurds and some of them aligned themselves with coalition forces, Marcarelli said. Churches have been bombed. Church leaders and members have been killed. Notices informing families they have 24 hours to leave are left on front doors.
Though Marcarelli thinks the persecution has received little attention, Pope Benedict XVI called for increased protection of Christians in Iraq during a recent speech in Jordan.
Violence against Christians is a huge problem in Iraq, said Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, a UC Santa Barbara professor who wrote a book on religious violence called, “Terror in the Mind of God.”
The war ended Saddam Hussein’s reign but also removed the country’s semblance of authority, creating turmoil that has brought with it what Juergensmeyer called a quest for nationalist and cultural purity.
Christians are victimized because they don’t follow Islamic laws that forbid alcohol and compel women to wear scarves on their head, he said. Often they’re merchants and the crimes against them are motivated by money.
“It’s not just Christians but it’s especially Christians,” he said.
Mainstream Muslims have learned to live in peace with people of other faiths, said Richard Hrair Dekmejian, a USC professor who was born in Syria and studies the Middle East. But the fundamentalists and jihadists strike out against Christians and anyone else who doesn’t fit their definition of a true Muslim.
“These are pre-Muslim communities in Iraq, and they’re being uprooted en masse,” Dekmejian said.
Marcarelli is a 58-year-old filmmaker who is knighted and journeys across the world on humanitarian and faith-driven missions, sometimes turning the work into documentaries.
A year ago, he journeyed to Jordan where he met with families who have fled Iraq and are living in crowded underground apartments. With the help of eight Iraqi bodyguards, he traveled to an Assyrian Christian community in northern Iraq, an area not often reached by the media or even the U.S. military.
In both places, he found unimaginable stories of violence, including a 6-month-old baby who was beheaded, roasted and then presented to his mother. He heard predictions that unless the violence stops, there may be no Christians left in Iraq in a decade.
Many of the refugees told Marcarelli they’ve tried to gain asylum in the U.S. but have been denied. They said they paid ransoms to kidnappers who threatened to kill family members; the ransom was characterized by U.S. officials as support for terrorists.
Marcarelli’s film is narrated by Jim Cavaziel, who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of The Christ.” It includes interviews with members of Congress and an official with the United Nations. Proceeds will be used to help the refugees.
The film is being shopped to television networks but Marcarelli hopes it is also screened by churches, colleges and high schools. He wants it to spur involvement.
“Churches need to push back on our Congress and our president and let them know we can not let this happen,” he said.
There is one further detail on this theme, for the moment
Listening to a talk radio show I heard a presenter called Howard Brereton quoting from Robert Fisk stating that the Wall and Israel was driving Christians out of Bethlehem.
How does that false claim by Fisk line up with the material inthese two reports above?