(Independent) Mark Seddon: We may be witnessing a new age of Christian persecution

In villages and monasteries in northern Iraq, and in churches in Baghdad, Irbil and Mosul, it is still possible to hear Assyrian Christians talking and praying in ancient Aramaic, said to be the language of Christ. Fewer in number now, the Assyrians are the direct descendants of the empires of Assyria and Babylonia, the original inhabitants of Mesopotamia. The Church of the East, currently presided over by Archbishop Gewargis Sliwa in Baghdad is the world’s oldest Christian church.

Before the toppling of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi Christian population numbered some one and half million. By and large, Saddam’s Ba’athist government didn’t discriminate against the country’s minorities; indeed, Iraq’s veteran Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz was the most visible of the country’s Christians. Today, barely 400,000 remain, with church leaders claiming that organised ethnic cleansing is taking place, unchallenged. Iraq’s Christians have in the past been accused of collaborating with Britain and America, and while both Sunni and Shia political leaders say they want Iraq’s Christians to remain, some church leaders are urging their remaining flock to abandon Iraq before it is too late and they are massacred.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Violence

12 comments on “(Independent) Mark Seddon: We may be witnessing a new age of Christian persecution

  1. LumenChristie says:

    [b][i]MAY BE[/i][/b]?? Take a look.

    Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Iran & Iraq are self evident.

    Throughout the Western world we are increasingly being marginalized and ridiculed by the cultural elite. This was the [b]same[/b] process used on the Jews prior to WWII. We really need to wake up and smell the gas.

  2. Br. Michael says:


  3. NoVA Scout says:

    Do you two really think that the “cultural elite” in western country are preparing a mass extermination program, in league with religious fanatics in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia? Just asking.

  4. Katherine says:

    #3, I must say I don’t see mass extermination in view in the U.S. or Western Europe, but marginalization is creeping up. In both political and technical circles believing Christians, including Catholics as well as conservative Protestants, have been discriminated against.

  5. mikeyrose says:

    LumenChristie you are exactly right in your summation..the European Jews didn’t think it could happen to them either. No one ever thinks it could happen to them… I believe we are at about 1933/34. We will be the Jews of the 21st Century.

  6. John A. says:

    It is not so much a “new age of persecution” as it is a new phase of the centuries old conflict between Islam and western civilization. Islam is a totalitarian political ideology as well as a religion.

    The video “Islam: What the West Needs to Know” effectively explores the political agenda of Islam although it would be interesting to hear some of its claims debated by Muslim leaders.

  7. Cennydd13 says:

    5. Only if we let it happen, mikeyrose……only if we let it happen.

  8. NoVA Scout says:

    I was addressing the assertion that there is a conscious link in design between Western “cultural elites” and homicidal religious fanatics in Muslim regions, the goal of which is mass extermination of Christians. The equation of the present situation to the Nazis in Germany in the mid-30s strikes me as complete historical ignorance. The idea that Western secularists are working in cahoots with religious fanatics in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia to advance a plan of extermination of Christians strikes me as present-tense ignorance. The idea that increasing secularism in Western cultures (an obvious phenomenon, and perhaps one that would provide some degree of protection against religiously-motivated violence in parts of the developing world) can be linked to a conscious extermination design strikes me as a distraction from ever seeing improvement in places like the Sudan. A dose of “secularism” or an inundation of “secularists” in the Middle East (to pick an example) might be a very good thing for Christian safety and freedom. One of the reasons Christians could eke out a somewhat safe existence in Sadam’s Iraq was that his regime, for all its ugly faults, was essentially a non-religious regime (He “got religion” at the very end for political reasons). One of the reasons Christianity has found such a welcome, fluorishing home in the United States is that the American concept of government is religiously neutral.

  9. Sarah says:

    RE: “The idea that Western secularists are working in cahoots with religious fanatics in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia to advance a plan of extermination of Christians strikes me as present-tense ignorance.”

    Yeh — so why NOVA Scout brings up some kind of “Western secularists working in cahoots with religions fanatics in the ME, Africa, and South Asia” idea and inserts it randomly into this thread is beyond me — other than Nova’s usual tactic of introducing a bizarre random idea into threads, attributing it to previous conservative commenters, and then denouncing it.

    Everybody reading this thread can see clearly that nobody offered any “working in cahoots” idea, other than Nova, who clearly is scrapping for attention.

    There, Nova — I just gave it to you. Your name got mentioned four whole times in this comment and that should make up for nobody actually engaging with the straw man idea you attempted.

    Hey MikeRose, Cennydd, Lumen — the guys engaging in the actual exchanges with one another — word to you. I agree.

    Remember to vote — 2010 was just the beginning.

  10. kmh1 says:

    ola, Nova – como se dice en America del Sur – no va!

  11. Br. Michael says:

    What we will see is driving out Christianity out of the public sector (divorcement of church from state) and the use of anti-discrimination and hate speech laws to silence Christians and control what they can do. For example witness the boy scouts, pharmacists and doctors who have religious objections to birth control and abortions. Schools will allow secular worldviews and censor religious worldviews.

    Belief cannot be separated from practice and practice is what they will attack. You will be able to believe what you want so long as you keep it to your self.

  12. NoVA Scout says:

    No. 10, up here we say Northern Virginia.

    Sarah: my reaction to No.1, was based on the juxtaposition of words relating to Jews, gas chambers, and Western elites in a comment about a homicidal attack on Christians in Egypt. There’s nothing in the comment that has anything to do with “conservatives”, a group among which, when clearly defined (doesn’t happen much these days), I number myself.

    Back to my point: do you think that Christians would benefit from an increase in secularism in the cultures and governments of Africa, the Mideast, and South Asia. My perception is that Christianity can thrive in non-theocratic environments, regardless of the dominant religion controlling the government. If we disagree about that, let’s have a thoughtful discussion.