Monday, November 15, 2010

Silence As Iraqi Christians Are Massacred

Where is our diplomatic community and why isn't anyone publicly speaking out against the attacks on the Iraqi Christian community in that country?

Christians lived in Iraq before the Muslims, by hundreds of years. It is said the Garden of Eden was located in Iraq.

Christians are a small but historic part of the religious fabric of Iraq. Although they make up only about 1 percent of the population, Christians have been in this part of the world for 2,000 years, as evidenced by the stunningly beautiful churches and ancient monasteries that dot the Iraqi landscape. The town of Mosul is mentioned in the Bible, where it is known as Nineveh. And, to this day, some Iraqi Christians continue to speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Even in the days of tyrannical Saddam Hussein, Christians lived and worked with Muslim Iraqis in peace. Though only a small part of the population, they were even represented in the highest levels of Saddam's inner circle - Tariq Aziz was Christian.

My husband was in Iraq just before the war, at the end of 2002, and he was honored to be befriended by Christian Iraqis - Iraqi counterparts and students of his work, many with which he is still in touch. The highest ranking counterpart welcomed my husband into his home and one visit involved celebrating at a birthday party and dinner for the man's son. The women of the family and guests were gracious hosts.

So, with the news of well-coordinated and massive recent attacks on Christians in Iraq, why is our State Department and our President silent about it? Where is the demand for stronger security for Iraqis - Christian and Muslim alike? Where is the strong statement that terrorist massacres of Christians is not acceptable?

It is time for voices representing religious freedom to speak loudly in support for all Iraqis.

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