Iraq

IRAQ - HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE

The Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia of 438,317 sq. km. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers provide Iraq with agriculturally capable land.  There are high mountains to the north and Syrian desert in the southwest.  Control and distribution of wealth from oil dominates politics, and there is rampant corruption in government.  The 2010 Sunni-backed alliance of political groups formed a representative and constitutional democracy.  The country is difficult to govern peacefully as the politics are affected by longstanding rivalries (Shi’a-Sunni and Arab-Kurd) combined with Islamic terrorism.  The population is ~31,466,700.  The official language is Arabic; Kurdish in the KAR.  Dictatorship, two Gulf Wars and 13 years of UN sanctions devastated the economy and impoverished many people.  In 2007, the UN said that about 40% of Iraq’s middle class is believed to have fled to other countries, fleeing mostly from systematic persecution. The new constitution states that no law can be passed that contravenes Islam, so guarantees of religious freedom are not trustworthy.~95.91% are Muslim, ~1.9% Other, ~1.59% claim to be Christian, ~0.6% Non-religious. 1

In 2003, Canada chose not to join the American-led military coalition which overthrew Saddam Hussein. After the fall of Hussein, Canada provided much humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Iraq. Between 2003 and 2010, Canada gave 300 million dollars to this cause. As Iraq's reconstruction proceeds, Canada is quite involved in her economy. Canada is the eight largest foreign investor in Iraq. Canada is regarded as one of the most important suppliers of wheat and other food products to Iraq. Canada also purchases oil and petroleum products from Iraq. Canadian exports to Iraq in 2010 totalled $236,578,223. Canadian imports from Iraq in 2010 totalled $1,912,946,303.

Sadly, large numbers of Christians have been killed in Iraq in acts of terrorism. Both the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon, and the present minister, John Baird, have spoken out against such atrocities. Lawrence Cannon has said:

The Government of Canada continues to be deeply concerned about the plight of minorities in Iraq. Canada strongly condemns these senseless and shameful acts of violence. Iraqi minorities, including the Christian community, are especially vulnerable to violence and discrimination. Al Qaeda in Iraq's stated policy of targeting Iraqi Christians demonstrates its violent ideology and lack of respect for human dignity and religious tenets. The Government of Canada firmly supports the people and the Government of Iraq in their efforts to bring about a secure, stable, unified and democratic country. Canada welcomes the Government of Iraq's commitment to protecting its minority communities and continues to support freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Iraq. 2

John Baird, following the bombing of a Syrian Catholic in Iraq, said:

Attacks aimed at intimidating specific religious groups are utterly unacceptable. We denounce this attempt to suppress basic human rights and religious freedom. ... Canada remains deeply concerned about the plight of the Iraqi minorities, including the Christian community, who are especially vulnerable to violence. Bringing the perpetrators to justice would be an important step. In the recent Speech from the Throne, our government renewed its pledge to create an office of religious freedom to monitor and combat precisely this type of religious hatred and promote freedom of religion worldwide. The issue of international freedom of religion is a matter that we take very seriously. While the office of religious freedom is still in the planning stages, we envision it as part of our efforts to promote human rights, encourage the protection of religious minorities around the world and promote Canadian values. 3

It is time for Canada, as the eight largest foreign investor in Iraq, to begin using its influence there to foster and secure religious freedom for minorities. Changes need to be made, beginning within Iraq's constitution and continuing on within its legal systems. Anti-terrorism efforts are also needed to secure protection for minorities.

Hold Iraq's Christian population up to God in prayer, asking that they would be safe in their homeland and that they would be able to forgive all of the hatred directed against them.

Shawn Stevens

ENDNOTES :

  1. Donna Siemens, zionchristianministry.com International Page.

  2. Minister Cannon Condemns Extremist Targeting of Christians in Iraq.” http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/news-communiques/2011/001.aspx?view=d

    By quoting this document I am not claiming that the Canadian Government endorses my article

  3. Minister Baird Denounces Church Bombing in Iraq.” August 3,2011. http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/news-communiques/2011/219.aspx?view=d

    By quoting this document I am not claiming that the Canadian Government endorses my article



REFERENCES :

Mandryk, Jason. Operation World. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.

Donna Siemens, zionchristianministry.com International Page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq

Minister Cannon Condemns Extremist Targeting of Christians in Iraq.” http://www.international.gc.ca.

Minister Baird Denounces Church Bombing in Iraq.” http://www.international.gc.caAugust 3, 2011.