‘Obliterating’ Iraq’s Christians

By Nina Sheadirector, Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom What is most startling about the report of the heartless double … Continued

By Nina Shea
director, Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom

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.

Christians remain the largest non-Muslim minority there but church leaders express a real fear that the light of the faith in Iraq that is said to have been kindled personally by Thomas, one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles, could soon be extinguished. Iraq’s other non-Muslim religions, the much smaller groups of Mandeans (followers of John the Baptist), Yizidis (an ancient angel-centered religion), Bahai’s and Jews are also all being forced out by violence.

Religious persecution in Iraq is so “egregious” that the country has now been included, alongside the likes of notoriously repressive Iran and China, on a recommended short list of “Countries of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act, by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

No Iraq group, Muslim or non-Muslim, has been spared massive and appalling religiously-motivated violence; however, as the independent federal commission found, the one-two punch of extremist ruthlessness and deep governmental discrimination now threatens the “very existence” of Iraq’s ancient Christian churches, some of whom still pray in Aramaic, the language of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Sunni-Shiite violence rightly concerned the Bush administration. The surge that was devised to alleviate it, however, did not address the unique plight of the Christians. Evidence suggests it may have even made things far worse for them by flushing terrorists northward into the ancestral Christian areas around Mosul and the northern Nineveh Plains. In 2007, Pope Benedict directly told President Bush that in Iraq, “the society that was evolving would not tolerate the Christian religion.” Yet, no American policy was directed to enable this ancient group survive the religious cleansing that the invasion unleashed.

The Christians and the other smallest minorities are not simply caught in the middle. The refugee branches of both the UN and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops separately concluded after extensive research that their presence in Iraq is being “obliterated” (the bishops group’s term) because of fiercely intolerant attacks specifically targeting them. From southern Basra to northern Kirkuk, the religious minorities have suffered bloody reprisals from terrorists and extremists for failing to conform to Islamic behavior — in their dress, social patterns, and occupations, as well as in their worship.

The sustained violence against the Christians started with a coordinated bombing of churches in August 2004. The Christians remember that similar bombings of synagogues in 1948 prompted Iraq’s Jewish community to flee, leaving a total of seven Jews in Baghdad today. During the 2007 surge, the capital’s integrated Dora neighborhood was religiously cleansed when the Christians there were ordered to convert or be killed in a fatwa from Sunni militants. The 2,000 Christian families who left have not returned.

In 2008, the charismatic Catholic Chaldean Archbishop Rahho was abducted while he prayed the Lenten Stations of the Cross at his church in Mosul and later was found dead. Other priests have been beheaded or otherwise assassinated. The list of victims includes lay people; Anglican Canon Andrew White, who leads a Baghdad ecumenical congregation, reports: “All of my leadership were originally taken and killed — all dead.”

Christian children have been tortured to death, reported the U.S. Catholic Bishops. Islamic fanatics broke into a Chaldean home near Mosul and killed a ten-year-old boy while shouting, “We’ve come to exterminate you. This is the end for you Christians!” ChaldoAssyrian workers have been murdered for “collaborating” with the United States. And Christian women have been hit hard; it was at Mosul University that some young Christian women were raped and killed for offending some Muslims by wearing jeans and having a picnic with male colleagues.

The Chaldean Federation of America has documented some of the personal threats received by Iraq’s Christians, such as the following:

“To the traitor, apostate Amir XX, after we warned you more than once to quit working with the American occupiers, but you did not learn from what happened to others, and you continued, you and your infidel wife Rina XX by opening a women hair cutting place and this is among the forbidden things for us, and therefore we are telling you and your wife to quit these deeds and to pay the amount of (20,000) thousand dollars in protective tax for your violation and within only one week or we will kill you and your family, member by member, and those who have warned are excused. Al-Mujahideen Battalions.”

Such threats and violence against Iraq’s smallest minorities is conducted with impunity. Iraq’s government has made no serious attempt to ensure either justice or adequate security for them.

Thus far the rapid erosion of Iraqi Christianity and of religious pluralism generally has drawn little notice from President Obama. There are compelling moral and national security reasons for the administration to help these minorities. Not only do they tend to be educated and skilled modernizers, who can help Iraq, but their very presence in Iraq will promote peaceful coexistence more generally, which will help us all. As a Chaldean Bishop remarked: “This is very sad and very dangerous for the church, for Iraq and even for Muslim people, because it means the end of an old experience of living together.”

Nina Shea, an international human-rights lawyer for 30 years, is director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

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  • Stublore

    Wow!

  • karsanghasi

    Blaming U.S. invasion for the decimation of non-Muslims, eh? How about the sheer intolerance and hatred prescribed in Islam and by their prophet?Did you see Americans here massacre and drive out Muslims after 9/11?

  • zstop

    The mosques arent safe in Iraq anymore. The churches arent safe in Iraq anymore. The synagogues arent safe in Iraq anymore.Iraqis are a disgrace to humanity. You deserved Saddam.

  • bdunn1

    You will burn in hell if you don’t believe in our god is a tenet of many Christian denominations. Talk about religious intolerance and discrimination.

  • abrahamhab1

    “From southern Basra to northern Kirkuk, the religious minorities have suffered bloody reprisals from terrorists and extremists for failing to conform to Islamic behavior — in their dress, social patterns, and occupations, as well as in their worship.”This is the history of Islam. Any other claims are merely Taqqiya; Sharia (Muslim religious law) sanctioned deception.

  • billaldridge

    It sounds a bit like the Christians during the era when they went to South America to bring the “correct” religion to the natives. It was about the same level of “tolerance.” And why are Christians setting up shop in an Islamic culture, if not to try to recruit new members of their religion? The Christian religions are not much better than the Islamic ones, and they are all based upon ignorance and mythology.

  • timechange28

    Gee, I can’t understand why the Muslims are getting rid of the “christians”? After all they just destroyed their country, created millions of refugees, and killed unknown thousands of innocent people.

  • James10

    Blaming U.S. invasion for the decimation of non-Muslims, eh? How about the sheer intolerance and hatred prescribed in Islam and by their prophet?Did you see Americans here massacre and drive out Muslims after 9/11?Posted by: karsanghasi No. But there’s a substantial difference between 19 hijackers killing three thousand people in one attack and a few hundred thousand military invading and occupying a country. Estimates range up to a million Iraqis. That’s 1 million in a population of 30 million. For the US that would be the equivalent of over 10 million killed by an occupying force of 3 million troops. Just to add to the picture. 4 million Iraqis displaced. For the US that would be the equivalent of over 40 million people displaced from there homes. Now tell me that if there was an occupying force of 3 million Muslims with all the military power having killed 4 million Americans and displaced another 40 million we Christian Americans would be signing Kumbaya with our fellow Muslim Americans.

  • areyousaying

    More proof Abraham was the original Satan.Religion will eventually destroy the world.

  • peep1935

    It is not religion that will destry the world It is the twisted minds that try to subvert it to their own use.

  • peep1935

    PS None of this is what CHRIST taught during HIS time on earth.

  • ZZim

    And why are Christians setting up shop in an Islamic culture, Posted by: billaldridge =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-Bill, are you entirely uneducated? Iraq a mostly Christian BEFORE the Muslim religion was even invented. The religious minorities of Iraq are just the remnants who have survived the centuries of Muslim oppression.Anyway, that’s over now. No point in blaming the invasion, this is just the end of a process that’s been going on for centuries.

  • shel_zahav

    While it is hardly covered by the mainstream media, the truth is that Christians are being driven out of all countries of the Middle East (except Israel where they are welcome). In Gaza, they have been plundered and exiled. The Muslims have decimated the Christian population in Bethlehem. In many Muslim countries, Christians are not allowed to put up new churches nor build any churches that are higher than mosques. Christians often are forced to pay the jizya – a “protection fee for being Christian”. Jews have to pay that as well. Disgusting.

  • explorers100

    Great, one less fanatical religion in the region will help. Now if only Islam would start to disintegrate…Its time that humanity shuck these stone age Religions. They have served their purpose. Take the best and leave the rest.Education, full bellies and in the case of the Middle East, full water cisterns are necessary to beat back the darkness.

  • randy28146

    A government which works to destroy the Christian church. Sounds just like something the liberals in the U.S. try every day.

  • larmoecurl

    “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. “Good thing we lost so many of our young men and women in the fight for democracy in Iraq.MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!Right?

  • rha39

    Yep, under Saddam any religion could worship in Iraq, but Bush didn’t like that.Remember their are around 20 major religions in the world. Which is the right religion? Mind of course you idiot.

  • pierrejc2

    If right-wing, American Christians truly cared about Iraqi Christians, this story would be a big deal.

  • utahmink

    NO US president should intercede in ANY religious war of another country. We are not a country of Christian crusaders! That’s all we need now, is a push from our own rightwing religious nuts to get us into religious wars around the world. Religion is what the Christian/Muslim wars we are in are all about – ENOUGH!

  • pgr88

    There has never been a liberal, democratic, religiously tolerant Muslim state anywhere, or at anytime in history.They won’t start now either.

  • pierrejc2

    “A government which works to destroy the Christian church. Sounds just like something the liberals in the U.S. try every day.”Just like it, eh?Definition of a Conservative: Someone who is incapable of telling the truth.

  • jcl154

    Its clear from watching the people in Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, etc., that once their muslim populations get to a certain point, they begin the extermination of other religions. Isn’t it great we are letting them into the US?

  • gpcarvalho

    Rescuing Iraqi Christian families, a topic I have emphasized since last year, should be handled, as soon as possible, not by governments, but by the Christian churches themselves. Instead of spending lots of scarce resources on anti-contraception and similar crusades, which have caused so much damage to impoverished families in low-income and overcrowded countries, Christian organizations could have helped their brothers and sisters save their lives by migrating from Iraq to more tolerant lands. I am always surprised when conservative organizations preach government intervention in matters directly or indirectly related to religion, although I firmly believe that everybody should be free to have any religion, or no religion at all.

  • pioneer1

    A million Jews expelled from all Arab lands and Christians being whittled down to zero eventually. This is a non-news tale, 75 years late. But dont tell the story, it suggests something negative about the “relgion of peace” which controls those countries.

  • kemcb

    Well, thank you George Bush and Cheney for the fate of the Christians in Iraq! Bush’s ignorance, incompetence and arrogance precluded the realization the consequences of invading Iraq based on lies. The least we could do is airlift the remaining Iraqi Christians to the United States and provide social support, if they wish, or are we going to abandon them as we did the Vietnamese. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz are WAR CRIMINALS!

  • jm125

    News flash, the religion of peace and beauty does not tolerate other religions or belief systems. The only muslim majority countries that tolerate other religions are the ones run by secular despots. Imagine a group of people with a ‘religion’ so vile that they make Saddam look tolerant. Bad news is we can’t do much, if anything, about this tragic situation.

  • jjedif

    How funny! The Christian pot is once again calling the Muslim kettle black. For if there is one thing that defines Christianity, it is ruthless intolerance and discrimiation. Actually, I think I respect Muslims more than I do Christians. After all, Mohammed didn’t call on Muslims to love their neighbors, so if Muslim don’t they aren’t breaking any commandments. Christianity, on the other hand, is a complete and total repudiation of EVERYTHING Jesis taught and stood for.

  • bpai_99

    You’d think the Muslims in Iraq could at least be more original. All of the crimes they are committing against Christians have already been done by Christians against non-Christians, and far more effectively. Not that Christians, forever the victims in their own eyes, choose to remember that.

  • as33074

    Can anyone explain why Christian are not persecuted under regimes who are not friendly to the US, like Saddam’s Iraq and Syrian, while they are persecuted under friendly regimes(with the exception of Jordan), such as Egypt, Israel etc. Iraq has been a Muslim country for some 1,400 years how comes that only now in NEW and DEMOCRTIC IRAQ, they are leaving? Why was Saddam’s senior aid Christians?

  • csintala79

    It is certain that Europe’s frenzy to ban the burqa, minarets, etc. won’t lessen persecution of Iraqi Christians. Why would Iraqi Muslims be more tolerant than European Christians and secularists? To Muslims Christianity is associated with the West. Regardless of the truth of the matter, a great number of Muslims see the West as poised to destroy their culture and religion. As with so many here in the U.S. regarding the loyalty of Muslims, there is much suspicion of Christians in the Middle East being allies of the Western crusaders. Intolerance by all is the rule of the day; no one is wearing a white hat.

  • ad9inaz

    We just fought a war in Iraq to topple a dictator who was stifling the majority of the people. The dictator is dead, the Shiite majority is in control, and they are as intolerant of other religions as they were before the invasion.Will we also be surprised when the Shiites start discriminating against Sunnis after we leave?

  • shel_zahav

    Per usual, lots of ignorance on display here. Christians have been persecuted in Muslim countries ever since the Muslim Crusades conquered them. The trend has always been rape, pillage and plunder by Muslims of Christian communities. Still going on with occasional respites. Since taking over Bethlehem, for example, the Muslims have pretty much chased the Christians away and damaged their churches.

  • bob2davis

    Let’s see, christians have been killing and torturing muslims for well over a thousand years; now muslims are giving some pay-back. This is wrong because…?

  • ravitchn

    If those Islamic devils want jihad we ought to really give them jihad!

  • ravitchn

    Muslims in the Middle East were originally Christians. Let’s apply real Christian standards towards apostates and heretics. Burn the lot!

  • MPatalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkThis cruel religiious cleansing of Iraq’s Christians must present a very serious test of Christianity’s biblical “God.”If he really loves his own “people,” is truly compassionate, and is “all-powerful” as loyal and devoute Christians blindly and unquestioningly believe, he should leave what’s keeping him busy these days, come down from wherever he is up there, and save the remaining 750,000 Christians who are still left in Iraq, all fearing for their Christian lives.But will he?That question must be uppermost in the minds of those Christians still left in Iraq.Mariano Patalinjug

  • tmcproductions2004

    Sounds like we spread the “Christian” virus over there with our invasion.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    The simple fact is that Christians, B’hai, and Hindus are persecuted in every Mid East and Asian Muslim nation in which they live.In Egypt, there are periodic pogroms resulting in deaths and mutilations. Nothing effective has been done to stop Islamist gangs from assaulting Christian communities.The same obtains in every other country, except Lebanon (known to the Lebanese as Greater Syria).In Pakistan, Bangladesh, and elsewhere, Christians and Hindus predominate among the “sweepers,” the untouchables. They are a caste, and they die young.Throughout the Middle East, Jews faced torture and murder for decades. They could not get a decent education or a decent job.Only a couple of months ago, the remaining Jews of Yemen–almost all of the 200 remaining–a three thousand year old civilization had to leave. Roving lunatic Islamist gangs invaded the Jews’ rural communities screaming, “Convert or die!” They waived sabers, needless to say.They slaughtered a thirty-two year old rabbi. When the “world community” protested the Yemeni government’s inaction regarding the murderer, who boasted of his deed, the government arrested him. To save the murderer from execution, his family offered the widow, “blood money,” a very common practice in the Middle East and Asia. The young, now impoverished widow and mother, declined.I did not notice any panelist addressing considering this atrocity or the plot of the Yemeni Jews.

  • thebuckguy

    Let’s see, a proposition and evidence given by a representative of a neoconservative position paper mill and no context. Christians occupy odd spaces in many Middle eastern counties. In Lebanon and Egypt, they tend to be relatively well-off and belong to the merchant class. No info here on the role of Christians in Iraq in the past or how they had been allied with the Sunnis or Shiites and how that relates to the events here. No reminder that much of the violence in Iraq has involved ethnic minorities or inter-sectarian battles. Instead, we get this thoughtless effort to whip up anti-Islamic sentiment. This tends to be the most intellectually vapid section of the Post online and today’s installment does not disappoint in that respect.

  • Martial

    The situation is tragic, yet almost inevitable. Religious war yields jeremiads by the opposing forces against one another. If you are not a member of one of the warring branches, it is possible that you will be seen as a greater emissary of Satan than either combatant.After Luther pegged theses to a door. Jews were fated to be despised by both Protestants and Catholics. Most know of Luther’s The Jews and Their Lies; few remember Eck’s Against the Defense of the Jews, wherein the author recollects witnessing child slaughtering in preparation for Passover. The main thing is to offer US sanctuary to the persecuted Christians. They will make fine citizens, for few are without gratitude to those who remove them from war and death.

  • edallan

    I agree that it is terrible that one direct offshoot of the invasion of Iraq that chickenhawk fellows of the Hudson Institute (e.g., Doug Feith, Scooter Libby, Carol Adelman (wife of Ken Adelman), Robert Bork) promoted so vigorously has been the massive assaults on Iraq’s Christians. I’m certainly not defending Saddam Hussein or his Chaldean Catholic foreign minister Tariq Aziz, and I’m CERTAINLY not defending the moral degenerates in Iraq who are attacking Christians and adherents of other faiths. But if the Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea had any sense of integrity, she would have begun her column with a “nostra culpa” for the Hudson Institute’s major role in creating circumstances in which such persecution could exist.I honestly don’t know what can be done — we have lost thousands of precious American lives and wasted billions of American dollars, at the behest of war-mongerers like the Hudson Institute, in order to replace a repressive scummy regime that at least allowed people of different faiths to reach the pinnacle of scumminess with a different kind of regime that has no problem with religious persecution.”Mission accomplished.” You should feel proud.

  • kimmsr

    I really hate to disabuse many here of their belief in the myths but people have been killing one another, often in the name of one religion or another, for eons. Supposed “christians” went on crusades to free Jesus home from the infidels, muslums. Muslums invaded southern europe and ran out both “christians and jews”.

  • spidermean2

    The Pentagon, the White House and Congress don’t know the role of Freedom of Religion to weed out insanity in the minds of people.This explains why the Pentagon, instead of encouraging the spread of the Bible in Afghanistan, burned them.Stupid policies lead to stupid results. You can bet that the Afghanistan and Iraq will turn out to be a failed state.The U.S military should learn from the mind of General Douglas McArthur. The guy imposed his own constitution (a righteous one) when he saw that the Japanese can’t make a decent one.If we have a top General (Mike Mullen) and a Secretary of Defense (Robert Gates) supporting a doctrine abhorred by God in the Bible (gay-marriage), it’s not surprising if these idiots will mess up.

  • jewishmother

    The author wrote: “Unless the Obama administration acts fast to develop policies to help them, though, their hope will likely be in vain.”Right. Let’s have a second round of shock and awe, and kill another million, cripple another ten million and displace millions more.The idea that the US government intends ANY good for Muslims is ludicrous. We are on a crusade, son. A frigging CRUSADE! I’m sure you know that. You have investments in this crusade… you have been advocating for war crimes by uor military for decades under the disguise of human rights advocacy. Pukeroo!

  • spidermean2

    Stupidity Detector. A Stupidity Detector is a device to detect stupidity.The Bible is a stupidity detector. During the reign of Catholicism in Europe in the Dark Age, you could be imprisoned, hanged or burned if you possess a personal bible. In Saudi Arabia, you could be jailed if you possess a Bible. Today, there a list of countries where the Bible is banned and all of these countries have one thing in common. They are led by stupid governments and these said countries are often not safe to travel to.What is surprising is that the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq shows the same aversion to the Bible. What is in these places that made them the Army of Fools? The Pentagon has slowly evolved into a tool of Stupidity engulfing this world.Where are the Gen. McArthurs in our military today?”And like the old soldier in that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the sight to see that duty.” (Gen. Douglas McArthur)

  • jewishmother

    spidermean2 wrote: “The [government doesn't] know the role of Freedom of Religion to weed out insanity in the minds of people. This explains why the Pentagon, instead of encouraging the spread of the Bible in Afghanistan, burned them. You can bet that Afghanistan and Iraq will turn out to be failed states.”1) You failed to mention that the Bibles had been printed in the local Pashto and Dari languages and they were intended to enlighten Muslims to the “fact” that Jesus walked on water, the Holy Ghost had sex with his mother, Noah put lions and antelopes together on a ship for months and the antelopes survived, and other nonsense.2) Iraq became a failed state when we bombed it to rubble in order to steal the oil.

  • samiles96

    Spidermean2 says:What is surprising is that the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq shows the same aversion to the Bible. What is in these places that made them the Army of Fools? The Pentagon has slowly evolved into a tool of Stupidity engulfing this world.Wow, I don’t know where to begin. We are in Afghanistan to try (try being the operative word) to form alliances with local tribal leaders in order to stop the influence of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. While it is true this has been a miserable failure, preaching Christianity to a very conservative Muslim culture is not going to win us points and it will take us further away from our goal. We have to respect local sensibilities to achieve our goals. Why is that so hard for you to understand? Thank goodness you are not a diplomat.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Some of the uninformed, knee-jerk “politically correct” nonsense here is enough to make one cringe. Political correctness, doctrinaire leftism, is so redolent of fascism, it’s terrifying.The Christians enslaved in Pakistan, Bangaldesh, and elsewhere are not your upper middle class British and/or American imperialists. THEY ARE STARVING, and enslaved.The Christians of IRan, like the B’hai, the Christians of IRaq, Egypt are NOT WEALTHY.And if they were? Should they be murdered? What, I wonder, do these bloggers have to say about the Jews of Yemen, country dwellers, without money, driven out of their three-thousand year old community by lunatics.The racism here is racism all around. That one condones these horrors in the interest of liberalism is paternalism at its most despicable.Take heart, bigots. These Christians are brown. (Like me.) Does that make them worth saving?

  • samiles96

    If right-wing, American Christians truly cared about Iraqi Christians, this story would be a big deal.==============================I think some of has to do with the fact that the Christians in Iraq are Oriental Orthodox. Orthodoxy is just as alien to American Protestants as Islam. If American Christians did go over to Iraq, they’d probably try to convert those Christians to the “correct” form of Christianity. b

  • gmak1011

    is it not ironic that bush jr. invaded iraq in a “crusade war” as he stated, in part, one assumes this crusade war is to protect the iraqi christian community.miss nina shea write “since the us invasion, iraq’s christians have been driven out of the country by violence because of their belief” i should like to ask jr when saddam was ruling iraq, whether he,jr, knew that the christians were worse off than now. the secretary of foreign affairs was a christian called tariq aziz. he is now languishing in prison. the titular head of the ruling baath party was a christian called michele aflaq. the bells of christian churches were singing through out iraq loudly and was heard by both muslim and christians. and now under the american government puppet, the christian are driven out of the country together with 4 million iraqis to adjacent countries. this is bush’s crusade war. it turned out it is war against christians as much as non-christians. shouldn’t americans be proud of themselves for appointing this who ever he is in the highest office in the land?

  • samiles96

    When the politically correct endorse murder, torture, and racism in the Middle East, they are serving the interests of British Petroleum, of whose comings and goings, criminality internationally and domestically, few are aware.It’s not political correctness. Sometimes you have to make hard choices in this war. You have to gain the assistance of governments and sometimes you have to ignore certain behavior to get that assistance.

  • spidermean2

    The Bible is the word of God. People on the opposite side or those on the devil’s side will surely hate it. Obviously they don’t understand the message of God and for this reason, Doomsday is coming due to their own stupidity.Japan and South Korea has become successful democratic rich states as they welcome Freedom of Religion. Give them a leader that will stop that freedom and we’ll see failed states in the making.There are Afghans and Iraqis who want to own and read a Bible but the problem is they can’t because some idiotic folks hinder them from doing so, including the Pentagon.For me Catholicism is a false religion but it doesn’t give me that right to impose my will on other people’s choice of religion. If you think I can, then it means that you are insane.I can only give my views about Catholicism. The person is still free to decide whether he wants to cling to it or not.How some people can’t see the stupidity of of imposing their preferred religion to others is the seed of stupidity and the Pentagon has become a tool to help spread the stupidity seeds.Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to become failed states unless Freedom of Religion becomes the law of the land. And of all organizations, the the Pentagon should know that. What a mess.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    The Christians were never singing out loudly in Iraq.The only thing that has changed is that we know the very little about them there that Big Oil permits.Then there are the Christians of IRan, Yemen, Egypt, etc., Pakastan, Bengaladesh, etc.The seven Jews remaining here and there.The B’hai, the Hindus, the women, the gays, et al.

  • spidermean2

    One should remember that the case of Japan was even worse compared to Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of them believed that their emperor was a direct descendant of the Sun God.Like Japan, Iraq and Afghanistan is also curable. The real problem is that the Pentagon, the White House, and Congress forgot the pill Gen. McArthur had administered to that country.Freedom of Conscience and Religion and equality regardless of gender and age.

  • SCKershaw

    If there is a reason to be shocked, I don’t know what it is. Tolerance is that overrated virtue intermittently practiced by those momentarily indisposed to exercise of their intolerance. Tolerance carries the same conceit as intolerance: the underlying presumption that others are the legitimate targets to be acted upon. Intolerance is the choice to do, tolerance is the choice to do not.The war the United States chose to fight in Iraq ripped off the force that had maintained an uneasy peace for religious minorities over generations. But the perpetrators in Iraq operate under no less a sense of entitlement than the self-entitled of any other place, they just do it under the aegis of fealty to Islam. That basis makes it worse in the sense that Islam is so dogmatic in it war-like demands and that it is so a widely available.It is ironic that the previous administration named its war “Iraqi Freedom” since there doesn’t seem to have been any consideration to what Iraq’s majority think that means.

  • Karmicquickdraw

    Oh, de pooooorrrrr wittle Christians. Now they might begin to have to hav understanding about their own persecution of others. How about the children sexually ravaged by priests, women subsumed into the slave ranks, and lest we forget, the millions and millions of sexual and gender minority believers forced to the fire or just summarily kicked out.

  • shel_zahav

    Christianity used to be practiced throughout the Middle East. Even Afghanistan had sizable Christian communities. Since the Muslim Crusades of the seventh century, the Muslims have devastated Christian practice everywhere. Islam cannot tolerate the other and will always seek to eliminate him.

  • areyousaying

    Brutal intolerance and discrimination?Maybe what goes around comes around.

  • aaali1

    It is interesting that a writer who advocates human rights is either avoiding the truth or intentionally misleading the public. The Iraqi Chaldeans and Assyrians were and still the indigenous people of northern Iraq. As the Turks (Central Asia) started moving into the area around the tenth century accompanied by the Kurds from Northern Pakistan, the Chaldeans and Assyrians numbered started to dwindle. Before that the Chaldeans and Assyrians had flourishing culture and lived peacefully with their Iraqi Arab brothers.

  • shewholives

    But, but, but, I thought Islam was a religion of tolerance. Also, I thought they were always the victims, at least that’s what they keep telling us.

  • skipsailing28

    With few excepetions the comments here are little more that rote repetitions of long established positions.The liberals, who hate George Bush, will blame everything on him, even though Islam’s track record of “tolerance” is not all that good.The “west” faces a huge challenge now. An ascendant Islam is bullying us and we are basically permitting it.Those liberals who whine about the invasion of Iraq are simply displaying their ignorance and thier inability to think beyond their dogma. The invasion heightened violence in Iraq, of that there is no doubt. But who decided that neighborhood christians are an acceptable target? When the liberals stop blaming Bush and start looking closely at Islam they will earn some respect.The phrase “not with a bang, but a whimper” comes to mind everytime I watch that two minute video of Eric Holder in which he is incapable of uttering the phrase “radical Islam” with any kind of sincerity.We face a war kids. We didn’t ask for it, but there it is. Today there is news that a chemical company in England sold cobalt to Iran. So a country, lead by Islamic theocrats, whose daily prayers end with “Death to Israel, Death to America” now has one of the critical ingredients for a dirty bomb.and all the liberals can talk about is there hatred of George Bush. Holder mentioned cowardice. I don’t think he was intending that to reflect on his fellow travelling liberals, but it does.

  • KennethAlmquist

    “There has never been a liberal, democratic, religiously tolerant Muslim state anywhere, or at anytime in history.”You’ve overlooked the largest (measured by population) Muslim country in the world: Indonesia.

  • KennethAlmquist

    “Those liberals who whine about the invasion of Iraq are simply displaying their ignorance and thier inability to think beyond their dogma. The invasion heightened violence in Iraq, of that there is no doubt. But who decided that neighborhood christians are an acceptable target? When the liberals stop blaming Bush and start looking closely at Islam they will earn some respect.”One of the biggest problems I have with the conservative movement as currently constituted is that it seeks power without responsibility.Suppose that a police chief decides to pull his police officers off the street and use them to run personal errands, act as golf caddies, and the like. Criminals, realizing that the police are no longer there to catch them, commit more crimes.Who is at fault here? Obviously the criminals are responsible for their actions. But so is the police chief. The police chief had the resources that could have reduced the amount of crime, but failed to use those resources for that purpose. That decision can’t be justified by pointing the finger at the criminals. Similarly, conservatives cannot justify the decision to empower the people who are now attacking Christians by pointing out that the people they decided to empower are bad people.The conservative movement talks about morality a fair amount, but mostly morality for

  • skipsailing28

    One of the biggest problems I have with the liberal mindset is the absolute lack of any original thought.In this little axe grinding excersize the starting point ( a quote from me) bears no resemblance to the ending point (if there is one):Just plain wrong.Are the people of Iraq misusing their “freedom”. No. They are simply behaving in a manner common to members of their culture.what we are witnessing is the birth of a new concept for the arab/muslim world: freedom. No rational person (does that exclude anti victory liberals?) would expect this culture to move smoothly from the centuries old tenents to the modern era. The christian church needed reformation and a new relationship between the people and the faith resulted. The world needs something similar to occur with Islam. Nothing short of that will stem the tide of mass murder the world suffers at the hands of Islam.the Iraq effort was an attempt to start the process of change. Is it perfect? Of course not. Movement liberals tend to believe that if an action with which they disagree does not result in perfection, it was unworthy of the attempt. That’s the key to understanding KennethAlmquist’s post.

  • wjmurray

    Nina Shea is a conservative who works for the ultra conservative Hudson Institute. The idiots above who refer to her as having a “liberal mindset” miss the point. Whatever the reasons for the Iraqi war it has allowed Islamic fanatics in Iraq the opportunity to destroy the Christian community there. These are the actual churches founded by St. Paul which are now being destroyed. Had George W. Bush, whom I voted for, followed Sun Tzu’s advice in The Art of War and taken over the Iraqi army instead of disbanding it this would not have happened. Obama’s bow to Islam is now making the situation worse for Christians, not only in Iraq, but in other Muslim areas as well such as Pakistan.

  • pulakguy

    i can see the usual leftist apologists here. but i cant see any muslim expressing any remorese or solidarity with those people? or am i missing something?