Monday, December 13, 2010

Iraqi Christians

A week ago, I got a note from someone in Baghdad saying that insurgents were offering $100 rewards for murdering Christians there. Today, the New York Times writes that Iraq's Christians are fleeing en masse because they feel unprotected, and they are going to the Kurdish region and even Turkey - an irony given historic ethnic conflicts. Many of these Iraqi Christians consider themselves Assyrians, the ancient Mesopotamian tribe that predated Christianity and was present across the Ottoman Empire. (Read the book "Not Even My Name," containing Sano Halo's testimony about her starvation march through Turkey, dictated to her daughter Thea Halo.) Following World War I, some Assyrians fled from Iran to Iraq, where others had lived for centuries. They also went to Chicago, where the Assyrian (Chaldean) Church has a quiet presence. This issue illustrates how overzealous missionaries divided Chrisitianity and rendered it powerless in some regions. We should all be one.

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