Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Religious Freedom: Iraq is a "Country of Particular Concern"

Today the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom designated Iraq was a Country of Particular Concern" (CPC) because of the continuing persecution of religious minorities, particularly Christians. The White House had lobbied the Commissioners intensely not to give the CPC designation to Iraq and won over some GOP appointees including Dr. Richard Land who voted against CPC status. The majority carried the day and the continued persecution of Christians and other minorities was spotlighted in a USIRF news conference on December 16, 2008. Click here to read more about the press conference and the report of the USCIRF.

Just in: The CNS news service has an extremely good report on the press conference with quotes by Congressman Frank Wolf concerning the poor handling of minority repression in Iraq.

Please read the comment below by Father Keith Roderick!

1 comment:

Keith Roderick said...

The recommendation by the commission to designate Iraq as a Country of Concern is monumental. First, it is an indictment of the Administration's failure of will and policy to ensure that Christians and other minorities benefit as fully in the new Iraq as other major groups. From the outset, Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac Christians, as well as, Yezidis, Mandeaens and other defenseless minorities have been the inconvenient step-child of the movement to create an Iraqi society built on democratic values and respect for the rights of minorities.
Secondly, the commission showed great courage in making this decision which will give much moral weight to those of us who have been working to advance the wellbeing of these minorities against a swell of violence, extortion, and ethnic cleansing. Now that an agency which was created by an act of Congress has stated its position in such an important way, it is now time for the religious sector of our society and in other western countries to speak out forcibly and with the urgency that is demanded by this crisis. When there is appreciable leadership from both pulpit and the halls of congress, perhaps then will the next administration find the will and policy to do what it is morally responsible, save Iraqi Christians.