Abdulateef Alzubaidy / Bakr Abd
Iraq was the homeland of Christians, and the Christian Church had two regions: The region of Babylon or the aprashiat of Saleq (Saluqia), the region of Tikrit and its twelve countries, Including Sinjar, Maaltha, Banu and hathra in northern Iraq. Since the third century AD began the spread of Christianity in Iraq, north and south. The Syriac language prevailed until the seventh century, when the Persian language entered with the Persian occupation authority.
History confirms that the Christians were the owners of civilization and science and arts and literature, and when the Arab armies of Islam in 637 AD to the land of the rivers welcomed by the Iraqis (Christians), having secured the covenants of the caliphs and leaders of Muslim armies, for their salvation by the Muslim conquerors of The cruelty of the occupiers of the Persians, their harassment.
When the Muslims entered Iraq, they found their Christian inhabitants of civilization and science. Monasteries were schools where men and women learned astronomy, medicine, poetry, literature, and sculpture.
And the successors of the two Umayyad and Abbasid countries on those schools, and the most famous Syriac scientists ( Haneen bin Ishac , Abu Bashir , Johna bin Glad , Yahya bin Uday , al-kindi and Aal Bakhtisoa ) and others, And who wrote , translated and transferred various medical and astronomical sciences from the Syriac, Greek and Persian languages into Arabic, They also filled the Abbasid library with their works and sciences, and also managed the House of Wisdom.
In the history of Baghdad It is said that in the place where the city of Baghdad was built there was a monastery where a number of priests, And that Abu Ja`far al-Mansur invite the great one of them and asked him about the climate of the region in which he wants to build the capital of his caliphate, and what their books say about her. The priest answered him, and confirmed the validity of the place for the residence of the caliph, his family, his entourage, his soldiers and the people, and that their books say that this city lives and expands and continues until the Day of Resurrection. At that point the Caliph insisted on what he had planned and instructed the engineers to prepare the map of the promised capital.
In the days of the new Iraqi state of Iraq in 1921, Iraqi Christians put themselves at the service of the nascent state, hoping to secure their religious and economic freedoms and preserve their cultural and social identity. Some of them were prominent Christian figures who served Arabic and Arabic culture, and added much to it.
And that throughout the reign of the monarchy they lived in safety, and enjoyed a freedom of worship that was sufficient to protect their heritage, culture and traditions from extinction. Their churches and monasteries flourished during the years of the monarchy. They had Christian ministers, senior officials of the state, its institutions and embassies, and the movement of authorship and printing of Christian religious and historical books was revived and published.
Under the rule of Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr in the 1970s and under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and 1990s, Iraqi Christians breathed a great deal of relief and largely enjoyed their religious, cultural and social freedom; the state took care of them and allowed them to establish new churches and schools without restrictions or boundaries.
While After the US occupation of Iraq in 2003. Because of Iranian fanatic influence Extremist religious militias have emerged Which began to deliberately carry out attacks and bombings and kidnapping with the intention of terrorizing Iraqi Christians, And carried them to emigrate from the homeland, Then completed The pliers The extreme underdevelopment of Christians in Iraq has emerged «ISIS» and occupation of most of their areas in Nineveh and Salahdin. It is well known that what gangs have done is killing, slaughter, burn and rape, and the destruction of monasteries, churches, monuments and monuments in Christian cities and villages; forcing many of them to leave.
There are Christians in Iraq in all governorates, but their presence is concentrated in the capital, Baghdad, where there is the largest population of them, and in the Nineveh plain near Mosul in northern Iraq. While they are located in Dohuk, Erbil, Mosul, Basra, Amarah, Hilla, Baquba, Habbaniyah, Kirkuk and others where there are churches in them.
The sectarian diversity of Christians in Iraq
The Christians of Iraq are divided into several churches belonging to different denominations that follow different rituals. The majority of the Christians of Iraq are followers of the Chaldean Catholic Church, where Christians in Iraq are divided into the following denominations:
- Followers of the Chaldean Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination in Iraq.
- Syriac Orthodox community
- Syriac Catholic community
- Armenian Catholic Church
- Armenian Orthodox Church, the majority of the Armenians of Iraq.
- Church of the Ancient East
- Assyrian Church of the East or the Assyrian Church.
- Roman Catholics
- Roman Orthodox
- Protestant Evangelical National Community
- Protestant Evangelical Evangelical Community
- Latin Catholics.
- Coptic Orthodox community (they are from the Egyptian community in Iraq)
Targeting Christians by terrorists
Christians confirm that they have been targeted by terrorists in an unprecedented way, and some have seen it as a campaign of genocide under the eyes of Iraqi and US officials.
Unlike other Muslim communities Of their affiliation to tribes and tribes protected by the majority of them are armed militias and groups, Christians have no such protection, but relied on US forces and Iraqi security forces to protect them, but they said they failed them. Some confirm that despite promises made by government agencies and promises made by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki after the killing of Archbishop (Pauls Faraj Rahho) in Mosul by providing more protection to Christians, those promises remain mere words that have not been implemented.
The first major attack on the Christian community was in August 2004, when al-Qaeda in Iraq blew up five churches within half an hour. This was the beginning of the organization’s terrorist operations against Christians.
Some Christians who left Iraq said they were under pressure from terrorists to convert to Islam or leave Iraq. As al-Qaeda and militias increased their influence, some Christian areas in Baghdad saw posters inviting Christian women to wear headscarves. In 2007, more than 200 Christian families from Al Dora district in Baghdad were reported to be carrying only their clothes, leaving everything behind.
This wave of violence increased after the campaign by the militias. It has launched a bloody campaign against Christians in Baghdad and Basra since 2004, forcing many families to leave their homes
The tax was levied as a tax to allow them to stay in their homes. One of these events was the forcing of these militias by a Christian woman in Baghdad in 2005 to wear the hijab or be fate the death.
Dozens of churches they were explosion, Hundreds of Christians were killed, but kidnappings and ransom became a new means of coercion for these militias and a weapon to persecute the sect. Christians who did not flee outside Iraq were displaced and internally displaced, and the bulk of them settled in the Northern provinces. Observers note that the remaining Christians in the cities of southern Iraq may be forced to leave their religion and convert to Islam to escape many consequences.
In May 2007, al-Qaeda decided to acquire the residential homes of a number of Christian families living in the Dora area. As for Western countries dealing with the problem, political analyst Kathleen Ridolfo says that some European countries have adopted precautionary policies to protect Christians. She adds that German and French officials have begun to care about the issue of Iraqi Christian refugees, noting that they will ask immigration services to expedite the admission of Christian refugees Iraqis and their preference for others. The French foreign minister said that France would give asylum to more than 500 Iraqi refugees from the Chaldean community, but Chaldean Patriarch (Emmanuel Deli III) said granting asylum to the Iraqis was not the solution. Rather, the solution was to solve the Iraqi issue and restore security so that everyone could return instead of providing housing. To Christians in Europe and begging them in their streets.
For his part, the former German interior minister said that Germany may be able to host more than 30,000 Iraqi Christian refugees, and demanded that Europe also help Christians as they have same religion and have the same traditions. The minister said that their presence here would be temporary and the refugees should return after the situation stabilized and the sectarian violence ended in time.
One Canadian organization called on the government to take special measures to receive Iraqi Christian refugees. The Canadian government has agreed to grant asylum to more than 2,000 Iraqi refugees, but has confirmed that it will not take any special measures to accept Christians.
Christians of Mosul
Under the threat of “sword”, Christians leave for the first time in the history of Iraq the city of Mosul, leaving behind churches, homes, shops and past lives in the city its features were overturned once it was controlled by the radical terrorist organization (ISIS).
This organization allowed Christians to leave the city of Mosul, A number of Christians fled through Tel Kaif and Hamdania, but they were robbed and looted all their possessions from money and gold and even telephones and clothes. A number of young people tried to protest against these actions, provoking the anger of the militants and driving them to Seized their cars and drove them to walk to Dohuk, north of Baghdad.
The Chaldean Patriarch of Iraq and the world, Louis Sako, said ”For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now emptied of Christians,” he said, adding that “Christian families are moving toward Dohuk and Erbil” in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Sako said that the departure of the Christians, about 25,000 people, To Iraq’s second largest city with about 30 churches some of which date back to about 1500 years, came after the terrorist organization (ISIS) published a statement demanding that they leave it.
Sako said the statement called for Christians in the city “explicitly to convert to Islam”, either pay tribute without specifying its ceiling, or exit from their city, their homes with their clothes without any luggage, and that their homes now belong to the terrorist organization “ISIS”.
According to eyewitnesses in Mosul, which is the majority of the roots of Iraqi Christians, some mosques in the city invited Christians to leave via loudspeakers, noting the statement of the organization (ISIS) terrorist and confirmed that those who refrain from going out will be killed.
In a statement issued by the «Nineveh», signed by the organization (ISIS) terrorist, spread to websites, that this organization wanted to meet with the leaders of Christians to choose between “Islam” Or “era of dhimma”, i.e. paying tribute, Threatening that “if they abstain, they have only the sword.”
And that they refused to meet with the organization’s leaders, the leader of the terrorist organization Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, “allowed the Christians to leave” themselves only from the borders of the state of succession to the end date of Saturday, 21 Ramadan at noon. The statement concluded: «After this date, not between us and them except the sword.”
The gunmen withdrew passports and personal cards for anyone who leaves the city of Mosul towards the Kurdistan region, according to eyewitnesses.
The number of Christians in Iraq before the occupation was close to one million and 420 thousand Christians, today in Iraq does not exceed the number of Christians more than 450 thousand Christians only; that is by statistical, about one million Iraqi Christians left the provinces where they lived, In the Kurdistan region and some of them in Baghdad and a small section in Kirkuk, but the bulk of the left to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, according to official statistics reinforced names and jobs, within the 1456 Iraqi Christian martyrs, including clerics, doctors, engineers, academics and teachers and another section were killed by terrorist bombings.
The following are the most systematic attacks on Christians and their places of worship:
- The assassination of monk Raed Fadel Jabbu in Baghdad.
- In 2004, four attacks targeting Christian places of worship in Baghdad and two other attacks in Mosul resulted in at least 10 dead and fifty wounded.
- In 2004, five churches in Baghdad were attacked simultaneously.
- The kidnapping and assassination of Archbishop George Katsamosi in Mosul.
- The assassination of the pastor Eng. Munther al – Sakka, head of the Evangelical Church in Mosul.
- The death of Pastor Paulus Iskandar the priest of Syriac Orthodox Church in Mosul.
- Two priests from the Chaldean Church in Baghdad were kidnapped (Saad Serub and Douglas Al-Bazi).
- The killing of the priest Rachid Ghani and three of his aides are killed in front of a church in Mosul.
- The kidnapping and killing of the priest Hani Abdel – Ahad.
- The killing of the priest Ragheed Aziz Mati in Mosul.
- The killing of the deacon Wahid Hanna Isha in Mosul.
- The killing of the deacon Ghassan Essam Baidawid in Mosul.
- The killing of the deacon Basman Yusuf Daoud in Mosul.
- Two Syrian Catholics were kidnapped in Mosul by an unknown group.
- In 2008 there were car bomb attacks targeting the Chaldean Church of St. Paul and a church in Kirkuk.
- The Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, Archbishop Faraj Rahho, was kidnapped with his bodyguards and the Archbishop was found dead near Mosul.
- The priest, Yusuf Adel, was assassinated from the Syriac Orthodox Church in Baghdad.
- On October 31, 2010, the most serious attack on Christians occurred, killing 44 worshipers and priests in a church (Saidat alnajat) in Baghdad.
- The death of the priest Thaer Saadallah Abahd priest of the Church of (Saidat alnajat) in Baghdad.
- Wassim Sbeih Yousef, priest of the Church of (Saidat alnajat) in Baghdad, was killed.
The report concludes that the cessation of the tragedy of Christians and other minorities and other Iraqi sects can only be achieved through the expulsion of terrorism, the cleansing of Iraq from its pillars and its supporters and the restoration of the genuine Iraqi state based on democratic foundations that regain its prestige and authority, and build its national security, military and service institutions on true national bases, It does not know quotas or sectarian and ethnic loyalties, within the framework of the full citizenship of all Iraqis without a decrease, the rule of law, equality among citizens and respect for human rights.
Certainly, targeting Christians and forcing them to emigrate is a great loss to the fabric of Iraqi society and to Iraqi culture. Christians have participated in the enrichment and enriching of thought and culture in the Arab world in the fields of science, literature, art and others not only in Iraq,But that the Arab Christians had an honorable role in the movement of enlightenment and reform, and then in the stage of independence and the building of the national state and defend the interests of the Arab nation and its future, in addition to the peoples and other boredom, As an integral part of the Iraqi and Arab Mosaic, and of the common humanitarian and social peace.
Although it is important to take some steps to protect Iraqi Christians who have lived in Iraq since ancient times, their preference and granting them visas and distributing them to countries is not the best way. The decision of some countries to favor Iraqi Christians may have adverse consequences, especially for Christians living in Iraq; they will inevitably be targeted because of this policy more than ever before.