Baghdad, IRAQ – After ongoing threats, attacks, and kidnappings Chaldean seminarians, students, and staff fled the centuries old Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad. Abandoning the building to safer territory in northern Iraq, the staff had no choice says the dean of the college.
A short while after, U.S. military occupied the building as a “combat outpost” and fortified base of operations for the 4th Cavalry Squadron of the First Mechanized Infantry Division, and then by the 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.
The controversial move by the U.S. military fueled Iraqi Christian conspiracies of collaboration between Chaldeans and the United States. Radical Islamic leaders used the building as evidence to further persecute Christians as conspirators. Although Iraqi Christians were innocent in the taking of the building, the appearance was enough to recruit hundreds of terrorists and cause animosity between Iraqi Christians and fanatical foreign Muslims.
Iraqi Chaldean leadership begged the U.S. to vacate the building, but the requests went ignored. The Army, just now is transferring the property back to the church, Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Jacques Ishaq of Baghdad, rector of the college, reported. "The Americans decided to leave the buildings and have signed an agreement to restore the damaged parts and replace what was destroyed," including classroom furnishings, he said.
Chaldeans have been moving ancient artifacts and century hold manuscripts around the country in order to protect and preserve the items. Priceless relics of 1st century Christianity, books in Aramaic, journals, diaries, paintings, sculptures, and other pieces were lost when churches were fire bombed and ransacked by Islamic terrorists.
The Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad contained some of the more profound writings of Christian history. The college staff feared the books, saintly relics, and historical items would be lost forever.
Fortunately the library suffered no damaged, he said, because the Army sealed it when they took over the buildings. The Chaldean bishop added it would take Army engineers a couple months to finish restoring the complex.