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Chicago Tue Nov 09 2010

Chicago Assyrians Protest Iraq Attacks, Official Inaction

AssyrianRally1.jpgMore than 1,500 members* of Chicago's Assyrian community filled the plaza in front of the Thompson State of Illinois Building on Monday, Nov. 8, to protest the killing of 58 Christians in Baghdad a week earlier, during a siege of a church by Islamist militants and a subsequent storming of the church by Iraqi commandos. The march was dubbed the "Black March" because of the decision by the protestors to wear black. Pre-made and hand-lettered signs carried slogans such as "Stop the Killing of Christians" and "Cheap Oil - Precious Lives."

Somewhat lost in the horrific sectarian Sunni-Shiite killing that has plagued Iraq since the United States toppled its government in 2003 is the ongoing violence against Iraq's minority Christian community, one of the oldest in the world. Christians numbered approximately 800,000 before the war, and while prohibited from building new churches, enjoyed relative safety under Saddam Hussein. However, while the new Iraqi constitution guarantees religious freedom, the ancient Christian community has faced relentless attacks by extremists since the invasion, and only half may now remain due to persecution and flight.

The Jewish population of Iraq, once numbering as many as 120,000, largely fled between 1948 and 1951, and fewer than a dozen Jews reportedly remain in Baghdad.

Barack Obama as a candidate in 2008 pressed the Bush administration on its failure to protect the Iraq Christian community but now finds his administration faulted for progress on this issue. Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 944 with overwhelming bipartisan support, expressing solidarity with religious minorities in Iraq.

EDITOR's UPDATE: *Numbers from various news sources put the turnout near 1,500. Article originally stated "hundreds." As disclosure, my sister Waleeta was a primary organizer of the march and serves as Treasurer of the Assyrian-American National Coalition. Senator-Elect Mark Kirk released a statement in support of the marchers, as a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, co-signed by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, see below. --Ramsin

2010 11 5 Iraqi Christians


John Heiser / November 11, 2010 2:52 PM

Al Qaida, and its fellow organizations, are in no way, shape, or form, any kind of Muslim organization. Their repeated violations of Quranic Law, as well as their actions, prove they have no intention of following the Quran. Their love of brutality, torture,bombing, and killing,proves them,and any other group claiming to be Muslim,that persecutes those of other religions, are not in any way, Muslim. In the Quran it says, "In religion,there shall be no compulsion." Do they believe themselves above the God they claim to believe in?It is time that all true Muslims stand up against the infidels, who in the name of what they call Islam, but, which all who are in Islam, who have submitted to God, know is a false, hateful, and destructive abomination that misleads people by calling itself Islamic. Their faith is not Islam. They are not servants of Allah. Satan is what they worship. In the name of Satan, they seek to mislead ignorant people as to the true purpose of Islam. If they could, they would cause those outside of Islam to fear and hate it. These people must be denounced by all Muslims. They are worse than heretics or apostates. It has never been a tenet of Islam, to butcher people who see the practice of their faith differently, but, peacefully. All true Muslims must stand and refuse to be terrorized any longer by these Kharajites. If the Prophet Mohammad walked the earth today, they would be the first to torture and kill him.

Nineveh / November 11, 2010 4:19 PM

Well....yeah....I mean....I guess so...but...Mohammed did also kind of lead armies to murder infidels himself. He justified the ethnic cleansing of Meccans and other villages using Qur'anic verses, for example. He "cleansed" the area of Jews.

Sooooooo....yyyyyeah.....I'm just saying.

Look, I'm all for believing the peaceful side of Islam, but I don't think it's fair to say there's nothing inherently condoning violence in it. Very specifically condoning violence. As there may be with most religions. It would be better to accept that reality and for Muslims to just admit their bloody history (current and past) and say "we're going to change all of that."

david bil / January 3, 2011 10:27 AM

i strongly codomend Nineveh point of view if you dont understand islam it not mean islam is wrong and before hit any religion you have to understand that there are lot of follower of islam and islam is very peaceful religion so you have to applogise otherwise it is not good sign to you because GOD see you and your thoughts and prophet muhammad (saw) is true messenger of GOD and they really a peaceful and humberl person you say wrong ediot shut up boy ............. pass4sure LOT-956
pass4sure JN0-522

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