Acton Institute Powerblog

Iraq To Christians: ‘Submit Or Face The Sword’

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There are virtually no Jews left in Iraq. There used to be Jews there – 130,00+, but most have fled, many to Israel. And now, one Christian leader in Iraq fears Christians will suffer the same (or a worse) fate.

Baghdad’s Monsignor Pios Cacha made a grim prediction. He said that his Iraqi Christian community was experiencing the kind of religious cleansing that eradicated the country’s once-thriving Jewish community half a century before.

His rather prophetic words made headlines in Lebanon’s DailyStar: “Iraqi Christians fear fate of departed Jews.”

One of the goal’s of ISIS, the terrorist group with ties to Al Qaeda, is to either force submission of all to radical Islam or drive Iraqi Christians from their homes. They are getting dangerously close to achieving this goal.

Christians have been part of what is now Iraq since the 1st century. Now, facing the threat of coerced conversion or death, they flee.

Christians in the Middle East know very well about the ferocious system of Islam enforced by ISIS terrorists. When the group attacked Raqqa, Syria earlier this year, they gave the Christians three options:  “Convert. Submit to Islam. Or face the sword.”

Nina Shea, of the Hudson Institute, says,

The campaign against Christians has encompassed 70 deliberate church bombings and assaults, as well as assassinations, an epidemic of kidnappings, and other attacks against clergy and laity alike. In recent years, particularly since 2004, a million of Iraq’s Christians have been driven out of the country by such atrocities. This can be rightly called targeted religious cleansing, and it is a crime against humanity.

Louis Salko, Chaldean Catholic patriarch, implores the West for help: “We sometimes wonder, if they kill us all, what would be the reaction of Christians in the West? Would they do something then?”

Read “The religious cleansing of Iraq’s Christians” at Fox News.

Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.


  • Roaster99

    in response to the perception that Christians in the West aren’t doing anything… interesting because Christians ARE doing something NOW. take my aunt for example who is between Syria, Iraq and New York City working in Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker house advocating for/ living among refugees from Iraq (Muslim and Christian) …see her latest letter below…

    Subject: From Cathy Breen in New York City

    Why do we have to wait until Iraq is “disintegrating” before we get news?

    It was heartbreaking this morning to hear Mohammed Al Dulaimy, an Iraqi reporter for McClatchy news, speak on Democracy Now. As Mosel, a city of two million, falls to ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), while Iraqi soldiers drop their arms and flee, we hear that the “militants” are now heading toward Baghdad. “Sunni Islamic rebels” have seized Tikrit and Iraqi Kurds have taken Kirkuk.

    A dear Iraqi woman friend called me just two days ago, her voice frantic. She lamented the lack of U.S. media coverage here in the States on Iraq. She has relatives in Mosel, relatives who are fleeing the bombs of the Iraqi government forces. Over 500,000 have fled Mosel, many in the last days having to escape in just minutes. “You can’t fight bombs with a kitchen knife!” my friend cried over the phone. Herself a recent refugee to the U.S., we met in Jordan some years ago when I was following the situation of Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria. As my friend described the desperateness of the situation in Mosel, she told me how helpless she feels. A part of her wants “to go home even if it means dying there.”

    I am scheduled to do a radio interview in a couple of days, and after speaking with the producer over the phone the other night, I felt dismayed and unable to give an accurate assessment of where the violence is coming from. Not an analyst, I need to stick with what I know, what some Iraqis we hear from are experiencing and what they are telling us.

    For years I have kept account of the number of dead and wounded in Iraq. I have only to open my “Month at a Glance” calendar and read the number of Iraq dead I have noted on any given day. In June of this year: 85, 122, 166, 122…In March of this year 1,886 killed, in May 2,219 killed. But we don’t get this news. Whenever I am asked, I try and speak about the 2003 U.S.- led war on Iraq and its consequences.

    As part of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, I was able to return to to central and southern Iraq in the fall of 2012. I went again in 2013 and in Jan/Feb of 2014. During this latest trip, we felt it unwise to travel to Baghdad, not to mention Fallujah, Ramadi, Mosel or Dyala, fearing not only for our own safety, but for that of our drivers, translators and host families. These trips are an attempt to bear witness to this war, so that we don’t have another.

    “Your country brought the war on terrorism to our country,” is something I heard more than once in Iraq. “My staying in Iraq is a form of resistance against the dirty war,” another said. He continued, “You could have taken Saddam out at a parade…this war was planned.” A fifth year University student told me, “You have destroyed our ancient civilization, our country….You have destroyed something inside of us.” And yet another student: “You don’t bomb us and then send teams to investigate what was in the bombs. Thirty percent of our children in Fallujah are born with birth defects!“ And a final damning indictment: “We will not forget. It is not written in our hearts, it is carved into our hearts.”

    Iraq never had a suicide bomb before the 2003 U.S.-led war against Iraq.

    I am beholden to WBAI and Democracy Now for, as always, excellent reporting. I am beholden to Mohammed Al Dulaimy for his courage to speak and be seen this morning. They are my heroes, as are the countless people in Iraq holding out on the front lines, so to speak, in times of unspeakable terror and suffering. Mohammed spoke of how we see the failing of the whole system of the U.S. and its allies, the failing of the democratic experiment. We see, he said, the consequences in the lack of trust and in the corruption in the leadership, which has given way for radicals to arise, for a descent to a Syrian-like civil war.

    “ISIS is not alone in this fight,” Mohammed said. We have to pause and understand what is happening.” He related how one sees the use of hellfire missiles by the Iraqi army targeting a hospital in Fallujah. Of how ISIS is using the anger, building on it, of how they see weapons falling into the hands of ISIS, going across to Syria.

    Amy Goodman asked Mohammed why he was taking such a risk in showing his face? “In my country we have lost so many people….it is time to think about what is happening….He spoke of heart-breaking images from Fallujah, his city, from Ramadi and now Mosel. Of a father watching his children killed, all of which leads to a “huge sense of anger” toward the Iraqi military. ISIS will seize this moment as “all are afraid of the random shelling and of the Iraqi government.”

    I highly recommend Democracy Now’s broadcast.

    Cathy Breen, June 12, 2014

  • Hey Elise,

    ISIS terrorists are not doing good with the innocent people. They have no right to destroy God’s property. I don’t know why people don’t think that we all are a kids of one Father (God).

    God please educate them…


    • Diane, where does it say that ISIS is doing any “good?” Also, are you saying that there is more than one God? That there is a God who creates “good” humans and another “god” who creates “evil” humans? We ARE all children of one God, made in His image and likeness. Some choose to follow His will – which always results in good, and others choose evil.

      • Hey Elise,

        Read my comment carefully then make reply again. I did not say that ISIS is going any good. I said they are not doing good. Hope you understand. And I know that we are children of one God.