Targeted by all sides, Christians must choose to leave, or stay and face death.
By Keith Roderick
The novelist Zora Neale Hurston described one of her characters as a rut in the road, with “plenty of life below the surface but it was beaten down by the wheels.” Since the fall of Saddam, the Christians of Iraq have been beaten down by every wheel in motion: violence, extortion, and murder. In desperation, Christian religious leaders are now openly criticizing the Iraqi government for failing to protect their flocks. Chaldean archbishop Louis Sako recently lamented in the AsiaNews, “In Iraq Christians are dying, the Church is disappearing under continued persecution, threats and violence [are] carried out by extremists who are leaving us no choice: conversion or exile.” Twenty years ago the Iraqi Christian population was estimated to be 1.4 million. The Department of State reported there were almost 1 million in early 2003. U.N. sources claim the figure to be 700,000. Two years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, it was estimated that 40 percent of the refugees fleeing
There were 20,000 Christian families living in the Dora neighborhood of
In September, two other churches were attacked, in
In November, Isoh Majeed Hedaya, the president of the Syriac Independent Unified Movement and an advocate for the formation of an Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac administrative area in the Nineveh Plains, was murdered on his front doorstep. And in December, a high ranking member of the Presbyterian Church in