One of the tragic consequences of the US led invasion of Iraq is the plight of Iraqi Christians, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. Ignored by Saddam's secular regime, the 750,000 Christians were able to prosper. Sadly, in the days since the war began, this community has been under constant pressure and persecution from those oppressed by Saddam, especially Shiites. Frighteningly, fundamentalist Muslims may have their sites set upon this community like a Hutu for a Tutsi.
Whatever your opinion of the war, understand that this occupation has put the Iraqi Christian community in a precarious place.
Their homes are bombed, enclaves attacked, businesses looted, churches burned and women raped. They are seen as just another group of Arabs or even Saddam loyalists by many in the US military and infidels who support the American occupation by the insurgents (all because they share a faith with much of the west). They are truly a people stuck in the middle of a war over ideas. Yesterday's St. Pete Times tells the story of some of these brothers and sisters in Christ and the journey they are making to Damascus, in Syria.
Unfortunately, in the midst of the battle, American troops and coalition bombs cannot take the time to ask if someone is a Christian or Muslim. Young Christian men from the US must treat Christian brothers as enemies for the security of the homeland in America. Additionally, there is no protection for their houses of worship, homes and businesses from terrorists in their nation. This is tragic.
If you are a Christian American, take the time to read about the plight of your brothers and sisters, people your loyalty to Christ demands you pay attention to. If you pray for American troops, pray for the Iraqi Christians hurt by the occupation and possible fundamentalist regime. If you support this war, support the Iraqi Christian community as well. If, like me, you find it tragic that American Christians may be called upon to kill Iraqi Christians, voice your concern to your friends, your church and your government.
Link to Voices in the Wilderness info on Iraqi Christian Community.
Pictures of the Christian Community.
BBC story on Iraqi Christian Community.