Thursday, May 03, 2007

Seminary rector: Iraqi leaders indifferent to Christians' plight.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I also feel obliged to keep you posted on a special concern of mine: Iraq's beleaguered Christians, whose suffering continues to be virtually ignored by the global community. Here's the latest, courtesy of AsiaNews:

"Christians in Iraq are on their way to extinction, cut off from the country's political process," said Redemptorist Fr Bashar Warda, newly-appointed rector of the St Peter Major Seminary, which was recently moved from Baghdad to Ankawa
(Kurdistan) for security reasons.

. . .

The clergyman is critical of a democracy that has "turned into a simplistic expression of majority will and the systematic violation of minority rights."

In listing some of the aspects of the grave crisis that is affecting especially the Christian community, he stressed "higher unemployment among Christians, arbitrary seizure of properties owned by Christian families in Baghdad and Mosul, violations of religious freedom and freedom of thought, abductions, attacks and sectarian threats."

He wonders why, for many years, no one has acted. "The answer is simple: the indifference of Iraqi leaders," he said. "They do not consider us as belonging to this nation, our human and intellectual participation as Iraqis to the country's progress along with all the other religious groups that live here."

"They take advantage of us because we have no outside support or our own militia," the rector explained. "They know that all we can do is make appeals and complain. Politicians act convinced that our community is bound to disappear in a few years."
The AsiaNews article goes on to note that recent estimates place the size of Iraq's Christian community at 200-300,000, down from one million at the start of the current war. I've blogged a lot on this issue already, so there's not much more I can add that I haven't already said over and over again. The one thing I will say - echoing somewhat a comment I made here in October - is that my greatest fear is the start of this war was that U.S. involvement in Iraq would help bring about the decimation of one of the world's oldest Christian communities. It's tough to have to say "I told you so." AMDG.


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