Baghdad, IRAQ – What many Chaldeans have feared in the U.S. Presidential debate has come true. “We know if America leaves they will come and kill us. They think we have something to do with them and they think we have money. The Iraqi government is happy if all Christians leave. They say they want us to stay, but they don’t mean it. If they mean it, then they would protect us more,” says Masoud Gallozi.
In the past few days Iraq Christians have been targeted for slaughter. The murder of four Christians across Iraq in just two days is raising concern among churches there that another round of religious cleansing has begun.
Chaldean Monsignor Sako warns that US troop pullout is likely to plunge the country in a “civil war.” Between 31 March and 4 April five Christians are murdered in Kirkuk, Baghdad and Mosul. The prelate calls on the faithful to pray during Holy Week so “that the blood of our martyrs may restore peace.”
Chaldeans in America are frustrated over President Obama’s handling of the Middle East issues. “There were many Chaldeans fooled into believing the new administration would pressure the Iraqi government to get serious about properly protecting Chaldeans. These Chaldeans sent an e-mail of a letter by Obama and his people showing he was concerned. It was just another lie from this man. A lie that is leaving our people vulnerable. Those who supported him are partly to blame,” a frustrated James Selmu declares.
The report said Sabah Aziz Suliman was killed in Kirkuk on Wednesday. Then, yesterday, Nimrud Khuder Moshi, Glawiz Nissan and Hanaa Issaq were attacked in killed in Dora, a historically Christian neighborhood in Baghdad. Suliman, 60, was killed in his home at sunrise Wednesday. The three others, Moshi, 64; Nissan, 61; and Issaq, 58, were killed at sunrise the next day.
The killing of four innocent people within the last two days has put a renewed fear in our hearts," said Julian Taimoorazy, president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, in an interview with ICC.
"What is important," he continued, "is to keep these continuous atrocities in the media and on the policy makers' radars. What we need is a more safe and secure Iraq for all of Iraqis, especially for the Christians who have faced ethno-religious cleansing."
Archbishop Louis Sako told the organization that 750 Christians have been murdered in the past five years, and hundreds of thousands have fled because of the threat of danger.
ICC estimates that half of about 1.2 million Iraqi Christians have abandoned their homes in recent years, many of them fleeing to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
Jonathan Racho, the regional manager for ICC in Africa and the Middle East, said, "The suffering of Iraqi Christians has been beyond description and is not yet over. More than ever, the Iraqi Christians need our prayer and support. The latest martyrdom of our brothers should serve to awaken churches in the Western countries to come to the aid of their Iraqi brothers and sisters. We call upon Iraqi officials and the allied forces in Iraq to avert further attacks against Iraqi Christians. It is simply unacceptable to watch the extinction of the Christian community from Iraq."
"We are very concerned at this dramatic rise in violence immediately following the recent elections," William Warda, chief of the Hammurabi Human Rights Organizations, said in the report. "This will greatly affect those displaced outside the countries we are counting on to return and cause many more to leave the country, just when things were calming," he said.
Warda noted the new national constitution in Iraq cites Islam as the official religion of the state, a sure weapon against Christians.
"Most people outside Iraq are not aware of the simple fact that it is against the law, and the punishment can be death for the most basic human freedom – the freedom to change one's religion," he said.
Under Islamic law other offenses, such as women showing their hair, women driving, questioning Islam, or a host of other restrictive religious laws could earn a person death in some countries following Islamic law.
“They are using these laws to kill Christians. It is that plain and simple. This is the second genocide of Middle Eastern Christians. A genocide sparked by one American president and ignored by the second. The betrayal by the Obama administration is heart breaking. Children are being massacred,” says Selmu. “And this president is in Europe acting like a rock star. Whatever happened to Powell’s principle of if you break it you own it. Didn’t he endorse Obama. Perhaps he should let the new president know that he has the responsibility to care for all America’s debt.”