Monday, November 15, 2010

Iraqi Christians in Need

I am surprised that nothing has come through the post about the martyrdom of over 50 of our brothers and sisters in Bagdad. The normal Justice and Peace organs of the Church here are remarkable silent. Bishops, priests and lay people are being killed.
Archbishop Athanasuis Dawood of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the UK and various Protestant groups are urging Christians to leave, the Iraqi Catholic heirarchy are urging their people to stay.
The British Government, I am told, is still deporting Iraqi Christian asylum seekers.
Iraqi Christians if they decide to stay need the support we can squeeze out of our government, if they decide to leave they need us to offer them hospitality and financial support, either way they need our prayers.

There are some horrific pictures and some useful links on this site:

Watch the interview Fr. Nizar Semaan


georgem said...

I had an email notification of a petition to be submitted to the Prime Minister. I signed via the email but could find nothing on the ICIN website, although a second email appealed for more signatures for the petition, deadline Tuesday.
I don't know whether you would like to publish the letter:

Dear Prime Minister
Friday 12.11.2010
You were no doubt the first to be briefed about the horrific massacre of Christians at Our Lady of
Deliverance in Baghdad on the 31 October 2010. This Barbaric and unprecedented crime, has not
only left a trail of devastation but now threatens the very existence of Christians in Iraq. Christians
have populated Iraq and living in peace since the first century AD well before the Roman Empire let
alone Britain.
Last month’s massacre is only one in a long line of crimes that have befallen this community since
the Invasion and occupation of Iraq by coalition forces. Iraqi Christians accounted approximately for
5% of the population in 2003, and about 1% now and their numbers are dwindling every passing day.
Their lives have been turned to hell as they flee for their lives in and out of the country.
Neighbouring Muslim countries have welcomed these refugees on a temporary basis with open arms
well beyond their capacity.
Given Britain’s role in putting these people in such a precarious position, it is not enough for this
government to simply condemn these acts. We in the West have had the benefit of centuries of
secular society and do not employ enough empathy in the Middle East which does not have, let
alone take for granted the divide between politics and religion. Iraqi Christians who have for the
whole striven to remain out of politics and live in peace with their Muslim brothers and sisters are
being perceived and persecuted as natural allies of the West. They are now become victims of
religious cleansing. Since even before the crusades, Arab Christians have been caught in the cross
fire and we in Britain cannot continue ignore their plight, God knows we owe it to them.
We are Naturalised British citizens of Iraqi Christian Origin and others. We feel privileged to be living
in this country, who feel proud to call ourselves British and who feel honoured to be able to bring up
our children at the heart of this civilised and religiously tolerant society. We are however shocked
and dismayed as voters and tax payers to find that this religious tolerance is taken to extremes when
some people with radical backgrounds are allowed to enter and benefit from this country whilst
spreading their doctrine of hate, whilst some Christians are being turned away. We appreciate the
tough decisions on immigration policy you need to make, especially in this Economic climate and
have every confidence you will make the right choices. Given Great Britain’s role in Iraq, at various
points in History, it is a moral obligation to adopt an exceptional open arms policy to Iraqi Christians.
Some Iraqi religious leaders were even calling for Christians to leave Iraq, this view was not shared
by all members of the church some of which had been calling for Christians to stay in Iraq and
defend themselves. This is proving impossible as this recent massacre at the Church and the most
recent wave of terrors by bombing Christian homes in 6 localities on the morning of 10-11-10
demonstrates. We demand you exercise your influence in Iraq and the region to ensure their
protection, safety and security for them as long as they are in Iraq and welcome those who want to
come to this country in line with other European countries that are in the process of doing so.
Thank you for your actions on this critical issue.
Yours sincerely
N. B. Please refer to attached lists of signatories.

You are asked to email your name and address with the statment:
"I agree to add my name to the letter dated 12th November 2010 to the PM"

josephmchardy said...

Father, you may have seen this.
The Nuncio at the UN is assembling messages of support for the Chaldeans in Iraq, which he's going to deliver via his diplomatic pouch to the Nunciature in Baghdad.

David Lindsay said...

For each family of Iraqi Christians admitted to this country, we should deport both an Islamist and a neoconservative to any country daft enough to take either of them, beginning with the latter’s loudest media voices. As bulwarks against any future susceptibility to either of those enemy ideologies, Iraqi Christians are equal only to Palestinian Christians, in relation to whom we should adopt the same policy.

The neoconservatives knew perfectly well what would become of the Iraqi Christians if the Ba’athist regime were removed. They wanted to flood Iraq with the only, jihadi alternative to Saddam Hussein, the easier to kill as many of them as possible, although it must be said that that was not, and is not, the neoconservative attitude to the Islamist threat in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabakh or Xinjiang.

They support Turkish membership of NATO, and putatively of the EU. They support the capitalist economic system, which depends on mass and unrestricted global migration. And they have gleefully used the Christians of Iraq as bait, secure in the knowledge that most people in the West have never heard of such people. Thank you, George Bush and Tony Blair.

louella said...

It's time we stood by our Catholic brothers and sisters...and looked up from our reality and talent shows for a minute or two. We must ask the government for asylum for these perseculted people!!

Can you imagine the furore the Muslims would make should even one Muslim be killed in a so-called 'Christian' nation?!

nickbris said...

Before signing or sending off the petition it might be wise to check on the history of the British & Roman Empires.

Christians were always respected and protected under Islamic Law,these persecutions and massacres are perpetrated by Infidels and they are no different from the Nazis who decided that Jews had to be wiped out mainly to steal their wealth.

If Christians decide to leave they will be in the same position as Palestinians who have been refugees now for three generations.They should stay where they are.

Michael Petek said...

The British Government deports Iraqi Christian asylum seekers because to give them refuge would imply that Muslims are persecuting them.

Such a suggestion might offend Muslims.

To deport Christians to a place where they would be exposed to genocide is not different from what French police did to French Jews from August 1941.

It is unlawful under the International Criminal Court Act 2001.

As for whether they should leave and live or stay and be martyred, I am led to ask which option would gain the most in terms of the salvation of souls.

nickbris said...

Christians were severely persecuted in Rome under Diocletian in the 1st century but by holding out they were eventually saved by Constantine.

johnf said...

Thanks Georgem
I will write a separate letter to the PM, based on this and copy it to my MP. (I am of two minds whether email petitions are as powerful as old fashioned snail mail. At least with the latter, someone has to open it read it and reply to it.)

Zenit reports this morning that Cardinal Francis George, the President of the US Bishops conference has written to the President Obama to remind him of the US moral obligation not to abandon those Iraqis who cannot defend themselves.

Should we await a similar message from the EW Bishop's conference? I'm not holding my breath. In fact the Bishop's conference for England and Wales doesn't seem to have a 'contact us' link - at least I can't find it.

The Bones said...

They've got a 'Please don't contact us!' link.

Michael Petek said...

Nickbris - Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire but eventually converted it after a few centuries because this was a pagan empire which had no theological reason to persecute, but did so only on the pretext of maintaining public order.

Christians have been persecuted by Muslim rulers for one and a half thousand years, because there is enough material in the Qur'an and the ahadith to convince them rightly or wrongly that persecuting unbelievers is a permanent command of God which binds for its own sake.

That is why Islam keeps whatever it takes, and it is why Islamic rule has only ever been thrown off by force of arms and at terrible human cost.

Southern Sudan is about to break away from Dar-ul-Islam having paid for its independence with two million lives.


Michelle Therese said...

I've written to ICIN and offered to open our home to Iraqi christians in that need a safe place until they can find more permanent homes. We live on a farm far away from the madness in Iraq!

B flat said...

Nickbris says:

Christians were always respected and protected under Islamic Law,

That may be true, but if the law is not upheld by the authorities, then it is a dead letter. Christians and Jews were forced to pay a special tax, to cover the cost of "protection" by the authorities. The protection was little better than that given to productive animals. Many Christians bear the surname Raya, meaning "cattle, given them by their overlords.
The French branch of Aid to the Church in Need, is campaigning against Pakistan's blasphemy law, which has caused the case of Asia Bibi, and others written of earlier this year by Fr Ray.
Please look at this website, to see examples of the "protection" in Egypt:

I am not condemning muslims. My complaint is that no authoritative muslim teachers are effective in stemming the tide of terrorist violence, while some openly encourage it. This shows the terrorists to be out of control, or else tacitly supported by the silence of the imams. These murderers and their imitators should be left with no hope that Allah approves their actions, or will admit them to their paradise of houris.

Michelle Therese said...

At that ICIN site there is an option to sponsor an iraqi widow and her children living in exile. I'm going to do that! At least I can help one person and her children. It's not much... and I cannot believe that the British government is not granting assylum to these persecuted people!!

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