Jim Kouri
Christians terrorized on Christmas in Iraq
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By Jim Kouri
December 27, 2009

After weeks of violence against Iraqi Christians, many churches closed their doors on Christmas and hosted only a few guests for late-afternoon Christmas Eve masses.

According to the Pentagon, the majority of attacks against Christians have occurred in Mosul, including three car bombings that have occurred in the past two weeks. In late 2008, hundreds of Christians fled the city after attacks.

Either intentionally or unintentionally, United States news media outlets are ignoring the violence perpetrated by Muslims against Christians in Iraq.

While some believe this stems from the fact that reporters have moved on to stories other than US operations in Iraq, others believe this lack of coverage has more to do with the anti-Christian bias that exists within the media. The current Muslim-on-Christian violence does not fit the media template Christian bigotry against Islam.

For example, provincial police representatives in Iraq's Kirkuk province met on May 4 with Christian leaders in Kirkuk city to address concerns about increased violence against Kirkuk's Christian minority, according to Justin Naylor of the American Forces Press Office.

Only about 3 percent of Iraq's total population about 800,000 Iraqis are Christian.

"Anyone that targets you, targets us also," said Major General Assam Turhan, the Kirkuk city deputy police chief, a Kurdish Muslim.

Two attacks on April 26 left three Christian residents of Kirkuk dead and two others injured, the third series of attacks targeting Christians in the city in recent months.

"Our history has always coincided with yours," Turhan said at the meeting.

Following the attack, Iraqi police began visiting Christians in their homes to reassure them of police presence and to create lines of communication that the Christians could use in case of emergencies.

Unlike in the aftermath of attacks in the past, Christians did not flee the city this time, Turhan said. For some, he added, the attacks only redoubled their determination to stay and prove that they will not be frightened away.

"We feel safe here, and we are planning on staying," one Christian told Turhan.

A Christian representative at the meeting commended the police's efforts to protect them. "We have received great support from the [police], and they responded to the attacks well," he said.

Christian neighborhoods and churches are receiving special attention and extra security to prevent further bloodshed, police officials said.

Following the attacks, police operations surged and three suspects believed to be involved in the murders were arrested.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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