Iraq Now World's "Second-Worst Persecutor" of Christians

Thursday, January 4, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD (BosNewsLife) -- Iraq was named Wednesday, January 3, as the world's "second-worst persecutor of Christians" after North Korea in an influential report expected to underscore concern about sectarian violence in the war-torn county.

Iraq was among ten countries that received the annual "Hall of Shame Awards" in a report issued by the Washington-DC based human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC) with website

ICC, which is closely monitored by US-law makers investigating trends in religious persecution, said it decided to include Iraq as "one of the unintended consequences of the war in Iraq was to bring more pressure on the Christian communities there." Church observers estimate that Iraq's already small pre-war Christian community of roughly 750,000 has been reduced to about 450,000 people as many have fled the country.


There have been fears that the recane execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein cound incraese revenge attacks against Christians, who militants view as being close to the US-led coalition in Iraq.

"Much of the media attention has focused on bloodshed between Sunni and Shiite [Muslims] but hardly any coverage has been given to the disproportionately large number of brutal attacks on the small Christian minority," ICC explained. North Korea remained on top of its list of persecutors, amid reports that about 200,000 North Koreans, many of them Christians, are held in the country’s notorious slave labor camps for allegedly undermining the regime.

North Korea's Stalinist system of carrying out communism is based on "total devotion" of the individual to an ideology promoted by the late leader Kim Il Sung and his successor and son, Kim Jong Il, according to observers who visited the isolated nation


Among other concerns mentioned by ICC is what it described as "radical Islam gaining a foothold in the Horn of Africa through the anarchy in Somalia." The group said this "contributed to a sharp rise in violence against Christians in Somalia and Ethiopia. It remains to be seen what effect the recent defeat of the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia will have on the region."

ICC’s President Jeff King said, "Persecution must and can be fought. Religious persecution must be named and shamed on an international level. Journalists need to speak out about Islam’s mistreatment of other religions, while concerned individuals should get involved in the fight by contacting their elected representatives and by calling embassies and requesting fair treatment for Christians overseas."

In order, ICC ranked the world’s worst persecutors as: North Korea, Iraq, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, Eritrea, China, Vietnam, and Pakistan. The report was issued on the ICC website (With BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos).

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