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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 24, 2004 / 7 Elul, 5764

Iraq's disappearing Christians

By Daniel Pipes


The Middle East is undergoing ethnic cleansing — again. Does anybody care?



http://www.jewishworldreview.com | "What are the Muslims doing?" asked Brother Louis, a deacon at the Our Lady of Salvation, an Assyrian Catholic church in Baghdad minutes after it had been bombed. "Does this mean that they want us [Christians] out?"


Well, yes, it does. Our Lady of Salvation was just one of five churches attacked in a series of coordinated explosions in Baghdad and Mosul on Aug. 1, a Sunday, between 6 and 7 o'clock in the evening. In total, these car bombings killed 11 persons and injured 55. In addition, the police defused another two bombs.


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The timing of the assault guaranteed a maximum number of casualties. August 1 is a holy day for some Iraqi Christian denominations and because Sunday is an ordinary workday in mostly Muslim Iraq, Sunday services take place in the evening.


The five bombings were by no means the first attacks targeting Iraq's Christian minority since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Others, according to the Barnabas Fund (an organization assisting persecuted Christian minorities), were bunched together at the end of 2003 and included a missile attack on a convent in Mosul; bombs placed (but defused) in two Christian schools in Baghdad and Mosul; a bomb explosion at a Baghdad church on Christmas Eve; and a bomb placed (but defused) at a monastery in Mosul.


In addition, Islamists have attacked the predominantly Christian owners of liquor, music, and fashion stores, as well as beauty salons, wanting them to close down their businesses. Christian women are threatened unless they cover their heads in the Islamic fashion. Random Christians have been assassinated.


These assaults have prompted Iraqi Christians, one of the oldest Christian bodies in the world, to leave their country in record numbers. An Iraqi deacon observed some months ago that "On a recent night the church had to spend more time on filling out baptismal forms needed for leaving the country than they did on the [worship] service. ... Our community is being decimated." Iraq's minister for displacement and migration, Pascale Icho Warda, estimates that 40,000 Christians left Iraq in the two weeks following the Aug. 1 bombings.

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Whereas Christians make up just 3 percent of the country's population, their proportion of the refugee flow into Syria is estimated anywhere between 20 and 95 percent. Looking at the larger picture, one estimate finds that about 40 percent of the community has left since 1987, when the census found 1.4 million Iraqi Christians.


Although Muslim leaders uniformly condemned the attacks (Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani termed them "criminal actions," while the interim Iraqi government bravely declared that "This blow is going to unite Iraqis"), they almost certainly mark a milestone in the decline and possible disappearance of Iraqi Christianity.


This seems all the more likely because Christians, due mainly to Islamist persecution and lower birth rates, are disappearing from the Middle East as a whole.

  • Bethlehem and Nazareth, the most identifiably Christian towns on earth, enjoyed a Christian majority for nearly two millennia, but no more. In Jerusalem, the decline has been particularly steep: in 1922, Christians slightly outnumbered Muslims and today they make up less than 2 percent of the city's population.


  • In Turkey, Christians numbered 2 million in 1920 but now only a few thousand remain.


  • In Syria, they represented about one-third of the population early last century; now they account for less than 10 percent.


  • In Lebanon, they made up 55 percent of the population in 1932 and now under 30 percent.


  • In Egypt, for the first time ever Copts have been emigrating in significant numbers since the 1950s.


At present rates, the Middle East's 11 million Christians will in a decade or two have lost their cultural vitality and political significance.


It bears noting that Christians are recapitulating the Jewish exodus of a few decades earlier. Jews in the Middle East numbered about a million in 1948 and today total (outside Israel) a mere 60,000.


In combination, these ethnic cleansings of two ancient religious minorities mark the end of an era. The multiplicity of Middle Eastern life, most memorably celebrated in Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet (1957-60), is being reduced to the flat monotony of a single religion and a handful of approved languages. The entire region, not just the affected minorities, is impoverished by this narrowing.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and the media consider must-reading. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and the author of several books, most recently, "Miniatures: Views of Islamic and Middle Eastern Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.). Comment by clicking here.





© 2004, Daniel Pipes