Thou shall kill thy neighbour


I would like to applaud your recent article by Ramzy Baroud (M Star November 8) which gave a brief overview into the ongoing plight being experienced by Iraqi Christians since the establishment of democracy in Iraq.

While it has only taken seven years for such persecution to get mentioned by newspapers I would like to take the liberty to expand on the points raised by Mr Baroud.

This is a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Iraqi Christians and far from being an isolated incident - more like a concerted effort to widen the ethnic divide since the occupation began.

Examples of this have been seen over the past seven years. In 2006 the bishop of Mosul reported that a 14-year-old boy was crucified in Basra. The church has also reported that members of the US/UK-trained Iraqi security forces have been directly responsible for insulting civilian passers-by with anti-Christian statements, racist slurs and even attacking them physically.

Appart from the recent massacre at the church in Baghdad and the subsequent bombing campaigns over the past week, Iraqi Christians have also had to endure the murder of Paulos Iskandar, the Syrian Orthodox priest who was beheaded in 2006.

In 2008, the archbishop of Mosul's Chaldean community was found dead after being abducted. In that same year, an Assyrian Orthodox priest was also killed in a drive-by shooting.

Churches have been looted and various news agencies have reported how anti-Saddam groups have been threatening women trying to force them to wear the veil and even imposed a higher local rates of taxation on Iraqi Christians.

One UN news source described how fundamentalists have hunted women down for either "religious reasons or because they had criticised the militants" or, as one resident put it, "They accuse women of being prostitutes, informants for Iraqi and US forces and preferring Western-styled clothes to wearing a headscarf."

While Tony Blair goes parading around the world trying to create peace in the Middle East or promotes his obscure foundation for "inter-faith dialogue," I would like to remind people that before this war over one million Iraqi Christians lived as equals with their neighbours. Now, over 600,000 of them have been ethnically cleansed.

Welcome to democracy ladies and gentleman, it might just kill you.

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