It has been mentioned before in this column that the Christians are having an extremely difficult time in Iraq. The insurgents (which is just a nice, politically correct label for terrorists) are targeting not only everything that is pro-American, but also everything representing Biblical Christianity.
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Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00
Killing, Kidnapping Islamic Extremists Have Christians Fleeing IraqWritten by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
At least 14 Iraqis and one American soldier were killed in two car bomb explosions that rocked separate cities on June 8, adding to anxiety among the country's minority Christians, many of whom are reportedly fleeing the troubled nation. In another attack, a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb during rush hour outside the American forward operating base War Horse in Baqouba, about 30 miles northeast of Baghdad. The apparent lack of security came as church officials claimed that Iraqi Christians "are voting with their feet" by leaving, amid fears that the country will become an undemocratic Islamic state under a new government. Rev. Ken Joseph Jr. said the June 30th deadline for transfer of power would be accompanied by a Temporary Constitution that reads in Article 7, "Islam is the Official Religion of the State." He also cited "the most recent humiliation for the community--the failure to receive even one position on the Executive Council and only one Ministry Post--the Ministry of Emigration" in the 36-member cabinet as reasons why Christians are leaving Iraq. In addition, Christians object that a Muslim imam preached a sermon and said a prayer at the ceremony while leaders from Iraq's centuries-old Christian community were not even invited. It was not clear how many Christian refugees there are, but in some areas "400 families" are immigrating. From another report, after a wave of attacks June 17 on a crowd waiting to volunteer for the American-backed Iraqi military, it is learned that at least 35 people were killed and 138 wounded. Besides that, "We are suffering from two and three kidnappings a week," Father Bashar Warda, who teaches at the Chaldean Christians' Babel College for Philosophy and Theology in Baghdad, said. The Chaldeans, he said, form about 3% of the population, but a much larger proportion of those with higher education, including hundreds of engineers and doctors, who have been especially targeted for kidnappings as well as their families. Adding to the difficulties are reports that many Christians are working for coalition forces and often singled out for deadly attacks. "The occupation forces employ 100 Christians and 30 have been killed," said Father Bashar Warda. (From ASSIST News Service)
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