Iraqi Authorities Document Christian Persecution For the First Time
By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (ANS. AUG. 31) Christian persecution in Iraq is being officially documented for the first time under orders of the country’s government.
Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi has authorised the establishment of a committee that will work to end the ongoing abuses against Christians that have escalated since the rise of Islamic State.
Quoting a story by Fides News Agency, Christian Today (CT) reporter Carey Lodge said the heads of the committee have already met with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I to collect data, and will carry out a census of the homes and properties illegally seized from Christians.
NGO Baghdad Beituna (Baghdad Our Home) estimates that there have been more than 7,000 violations against properties belonging to Iraqi Christians in the city since 2003.
In July, the leaders of the Chaldean Patriarchate denounced the worsening security situation in a statement sent to Asia News.
“This outrageous behavior causes anguish and destroys the national mosaic of Iraqi society, weakening the prestige and authority of the state,” CT reported the statement said.
The new security committee will also focus on the rising number of Christians who have been kidnapped.
Four Iraqi Christians were abducted in Baghdad between late June and early July. Two of whom were later found dead by police, despite ransoms having been paid by their families.
A Christian member of Iraq’s parliament, Imad Youkhana, issued a statement on July 9 calling for greater protections for the country’s Christian population. CT reported that he branded the kidnappings parts of an intimidation campaign bent on forcing Iraqi Christians out of the country, and warned that it was threatening Iraq’s unity.
In 2003, there were around 1.5 million Christians living in Iraq. CT said there are now believed to be less than 200,000.
Photo captions: Islamic State terrorists about to execute a victim. 2) Jeremy Reynalds and his wife, Elma
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on “From Destitute to Ph.D.” are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at email@example.com.
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