Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Ignoring Christian Refugees from Iraq

While many people seem to think that the US has liberated Iraq, first from Saddam Hussein and then from the Islamic State, for the Assyrian Christian community in Iraq, one of the world's most ancient Christian communities, the liberation has been less than successful. They have been devastated by persecution  and many have had to flee the land where they have survived for many centuries. Sadly, the thousands of refugees have received very little attention and assistance.  Turkish journalist Uzay Bulut describes the situation in "The Latest UN Horror Show: Christian Refugees Ignored," published Aug. 4, 2019 by the Gatestone Institute. Here are is a brief excerpt:

Since the 2014 invasion and genocide by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, at least 16,000 Assyrian Christians from Iraq have become refugees in Jordan. Most are still suffering economically and psychologically there, under extremely difficult circumstances....

Lorance Yousuf Kazqeea, a Christian originally from Baghdad, for instance, has been an asylum seeker in Jordan with his wife and two children since September 2017, and is still trying to immigrate to the United States. He told Gatestone:
"The greatest challenge for us here is that Iraqi Christian refugees can't work legally. I was an IT (information technology) specialist in Baghdad. Many Christians from Iraq used to have a good job or business there. But we have lost everything. How are we supposed to support our families now? We rely on aid from charity organizations, churches and family members outside of Jordan. And in special and rare cases refugees get monthly salaries from the UNHCR.
"Christians from Iraq want to move to the West for safety and stability. But since January, the process has become even slower and more difficult. The UNHCR has not even granted newcomers refugee status since. They just give them an appointment date, then they cancel the date and give them a new one. So we all keep waiting."
The UNHCR was approached by Gatestone for a comment but has not replied.
Juliana Taimoorazy, founding president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, which has been active in Jordan since 2015, told Gatestone:
"Assyrian refugees in Jordan have lost everything in Iraq. One of the victims that our organization has been trying to help – a Christian mother in her 50s – used to have a hair salon in Iraq. ISIS terrorists attacked her, knifed her, destroying her abdominal area. The terrorists then set fire to her salon, home and everything else she owned. She and most of her family had to migrate to Jordan to seek asylum. They then applied for resettlement in Australia but were refused four times. However, their situation is even more tragic now. Her youngest children contracted an eye virus and are losing their eyesight gradually. Every 6 months, they have to renew the treatment and get new glasses. Her oldest daughter died recently in Iraq. Her teenage daughter, who was an excellent student in Iraq, has been unable to go to school for the last four years because she does not have the appropriate paperwork to go to school in Jordan. And because of that, she is suffering from severe depression. Around 50.000 Assyrians that have had to leave Iraq and have become refugees in Jordan, Turkey and elsewhere have similar painful stories."
Taimoorazy made a plea to help the Christian victims of ISIS:
"We've been told ISIS has been militarily defeated, but will we leave the victims of ISIS alone? The aftermath of the ISIS genocide in Iraq is more important for the world to pay attention to. The victims are still suffering.
"The past atrocities... are unfolding before our eyes every day. Because of the refugee situation they are in, the Christian victims of ISIS have still not been liberated. For example, at least three children from one family are about to lose their eyesight because the parents are not able to provide money for their treatment. And their hope is diminishing. But we have more power than we are willing to admit. You can contact the local UNHCR office in your country and demand answers – why Iraqi Christians have been waiting for resettlement for years and why the West continuously rejects them. Western NGOs and churches can also have a local representative in Jordan. Every single individual can make a difference. The wounds of the victims of ISIS are still bleeding. Let us not stand on the sidelines."
Per Wikipedia's article on the Assyrians:
Most recently, the post-2003 Iraq War and the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011, have displaced much of the remaining Assyrian community from their homeland as a result of ethnic and religious persecution at the hands of Islamic extremists. Of the one million or more Iraqis reported by the United Nations to have fled Iraq since the occupation, nearly 40% were Assyrians even though Assyrians accounted for only around 3% of the pre-war Iraqi demography.
The plight of Christian refugees does not seem to get adequate attention from the UN and other nations. Maybe your voice and compassion can help change that.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Gateway Institute is often a problematic info source, but in this instance they’re basically right. Kudos to Jeff for calling attention to their plight.

For good background on Syriac Christians see here.

— OK

Anonymous said...

Gatestone is worthy of your investigative powers. Take everything you hear from them with a pound of salt. Seriously. Jeff I can't believe you posted this nonsense from these liars. Do some research, man. Have some dignity. Your true colors are showing. You're being intellectually lazy!!!

Anonymous said...

Who is foolish enough to think that the US has done anything to import chaos to the Middle East?

Anonymous said...

Who is foolish enough to think that the Middle East woulnd't be in chaos had the US never touched it?

Anonymous said...

There's much to be said for the brand of chaos that doesn't cost tens of thousands of American lives and multiples of Middle Eastern lives.

And it all started with a Bush era grab for petroleum resources that was going to take a few weeks. What's gas costing you now?

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

Those are heartbreaking stories for sure. I wish our country was more open to accepting refugees.

It also reminds me of a situation that happened while I was working on my Master's degree at BYU during the run up to the Iraq war in 2003. BYU had a "soap box" event at the Wilkinson Center, where people could get up and share opinions on current events and things like that. I remember someone standing up and saying that he was convinced invading Iraq was a good thing that would help bring the gospel to Iraq...

Needless to say, ever time I see articles like this about the de-Christianization of Iraq that has happened because of our invasion, I remember that naive comment. I hope the guy who made the comment recognizes the folly of his ways.

~Jon

Anonymous said...

Mormon leaks has senator Gordon Smith saying to Mormon apostles in private that he voted for the war in order to bring the gospel to Iraq

Bryan said...

Jeff,

I enjoyed the post and, though some of your readers/followers might question the sourcing, I do not question that the Assyrian Christians have been heavily impacted not just by the ISIS war but other political and religious factions, as well. Another group that deserves much more attention is the Mandaeans, also located in Iraq and Iran. Their ancient rituals bear significant resemblance to other temple and worship rituals common to ancient Christianity and Mormonism. Nibley featured a lot of scholarship written on this group by E. S. Drower and others. Thought it was worth noting.

Bryan

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Selective blindness? We all care about congress selfish failure to pass laws to expedite deportation.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Christians must have open 100% borders? Why is it Christians fault that congress failed to fund nicer detention centers?

Anonymous said...

You're not making any sense at all, anon @4:11. None.

Anonymous said...

Read anon 9:40 and 3:06 and it should make more sense to you, unless you are that anon, in which case you you understand the questions perfectly and realize answering them would make you uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

HUH?!

Jeff Lindsay said...

Profanity gets deleted. Took down two rants violating that rule.

I think it's fair for all of us to be concerned about conditions affecting/afflicting those trying to get into our country and to seek ways to deal more effectively with the challenges there. Ideally, I would like to see healthier economies based on free markets and less corruption the Western hemisphere so that people don't feel a need to risk all to enter our nation illegally. But I believe that every nation, ours included, needs to be careful about their borders, if only for issues of public health and safety. Health screening is an important aspect of legal immigration and helps protect a nation from the ravages of epidemics around the world. With Ebola and other dangerous viruses out their, I think we need to be careful regarding who enters. Ditto on the issue of violent gangs terrorists, etc. But I also would love to see much more legal immigration. We make it so hard for many good people who love what America is supposed to be and would contribute to our nation. I wish we were much more open in our legal immigration.

zpgLivable said...

So 1m per year isn't enough? What's more open? 2m a year, 5m a year?

No, the better approach is to work within the UN to encourage every country around the world not to promote population growth. Unfortunately, however, many powerful countries have instituted governmental Ponzi schemes that demand further population growth. If we didn't have this situation, we could start making life more livable by eliminating the belief held by too many that global population will and must rise.

How pleasant it would be to live on a planet with 1b instead of 10b people.

Anonymous said...

zpgLivable - After Sep 11, HB1 visas were cut in half, while illegal immigration skyrocketed. Though unemployment is under 4% (considered no unemployment) employers say they do not have a problem finding employees in general, they have a problem finding employees with the correct skill set. Now that the technology cycle is exiting a valley, the lack of sufficient numbers of employees (correctly skilled) appears to be the only thing holding the miracle of the US economy back.

The current family preference base migration system was intended to keep incoming migrates from similar backgrounds of the native population. It backfired. For over 20 years major voices have been asking congress to implement a Canadian style point system in America, but congress has chosen to do nothing. The Republicans out of stupidity and business interest. The Democrats because they know they imported way more future democrats than they lost due to their abortion promotion (most of the aborted would have been democrats).

"not to promote population" - I am not sure the UN encourages population growth. It tends to be religions that do. Muslims and Mormons for example, but Mormons at least encourage people to be rich also. The UN's current approach is to encourage female advanced education, delaying the age they first have children reducing overall fertility. Considering vasectomies are now 95% reversible, the UN should adjust its strategy, but in most the developing there is too much cultural stigma to vasectomies.

"instituted governmental Ponzi schemes" - The American Social Security definitely fits this description. It was sold to the generation that voted for it by not having them fully fund it. The first generations received way, way more from SS than they contributions justified, while the next generation will not, now current fertility will not keep SS sound. Add to that Medicare part D is not funded by FICA, but the general budget, and is driving the congress's current deficit. And to think that supposed conservative (Bush Jr) gave us Part D, the largest entitlement program in history.

"1b instead of 10b people." Both are big numbers, it is not the quantity, it is the quality. 100 B could be pleasant also.