The war in Iraq is essentially over for the United States military. It’s still being waged by Iraqis themselves against their own people, particularly Christians. Father Douglas al-Bazi is all too familiar with the persecution and murder that is threatening to completely wipe out the Christian population in the Middle Eastern nation.
It isn’t just extremists who are attacking Christians, according to a World Watch List 2018 report. We may want to blame it all on groups like the Islamic State, but they’re all but wiped out in Iraq. Still, Christian persecution remains. If anything, it’s on the rise.
“I’m proud to be an Iraqi, I love my country. But my country is not proud that I’m part of it. What is happening to my people [Christians] is nothing other than genocide… Wake up!” — Father Douglas al-Bazi, Iraqi Catholic parish priest, Erbil.
“Contacting the authorities forces us to identify ourselves [as Christians], and we aren’t certain that some of the people threatening us aren’t the people in the government offices that are supposed to be protecting us.” — Iraqi Christian man, explaining why Christians in Iraq do not turn to government authorities for protection.
Government-sponsored school curricula present indigenous Christians as unwanted “foreigners,” although Iraq was Christian for centuries before it was conquered by Muslims in the seventh century.
The origins of the Christian faith can be traced back to this region, yet it’s being completely wiped away through violence and persecution. Christians have problems in the west, but so far our problems haven’t resulted in mass deaths and unbelievable oppression. It’s time we take a closer look at what’s happening to our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. Then, we must act.
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