Iraq Christians Kidnapped Amid Heightened Security Concerns by BosNewsLife Middle East Service. Wednesday, September 28, 2011.
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife) — Security forces on Wednesday, September 28, still searched for three Iraqi Christians, a week after they were reportedly kidnapped by suspected militants in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk.
"Gunmen in a modern vehicle blocked the Christians’ way, set their white Landrover on fire, killed their hunting dogs and led them to an unknown destination," Iraq's Alsumaria television quoted a police source as saying.
The attack reportedly happened last Wednesday night September 21 in Kirkuk's southern Daquq district after they returned from a nearby hunting trip.
"Iraqi police and army mobilized their troops and launched a search campaign looking for the three kidnapped Christians," added the source, speaking on condition of anonymity amid apparent security concerns.
The names of the Christians were not immediately released.
Last week's incident came after several other anti-Christian attacks in recent weeks, including a car bomb that exploded in August near a church in central Kirkuk, injuring 19 civilians including five Christians, Alsumaria reported.
A special anti-explosives unit reportedly managed to detonate another car bomb near another church in central Kirkuk.
It comes amid concerns about church leaders that revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, known as 'the Arab Spring' will lead to rising Islamic extremism in the area.
"The Arab Spring has created more Muslim militants," said the Chaldean Archbishop in Kirkuk Louis Sako in published remarks.
CHRISTIANS BECOMING "EXTINCT"
In a statement distributed by the Assyrian International News Agency he said there was a danger that all Christians in Iraq will "become extinct"
"They could disappear altogether as a result of continuous persecution, threats and violence," he explained.
Between the U.S.-led military invasion of Iraq in 2003 and today, there have been attacks against roughly 60 Churches while at least one bishop and three priests were kidnapped and killed, according to church estimates.
Some one thousand Christians were killed and hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes, with many now living in neighboring nations or Kurdish-controlled areas of Iraq, rights groups and Christians say.
This is why, "in Iraq and in other countries, there is a risk of the Christian community becoming extinct," Bishop Sako said.
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY APPEAL
He urged the international community to help develop "a clear political vision and clearly set out plans." The world, he stressed, should "not just protect and encourage Christians to stay in their country, but also promote reconciliation among the Iraqis, and human rights," as well as to "ensure governments respect the rules."
There are currently 44,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, with all scheduled to leave by the end of this year.
But concerns about Iraq's stability and continued attacks have reportedly spurred Washington and Baghdad to reconsider the deadline.
This week Iraq signed an estimated $3 billion deal to buy 18 fighter jets from the United States, in a measure aimed at protecting its air space alone after years of relying on help from American pilots, Iraqi and U.S. officials said.
Three Christians, Turkoman, freed after 9-day abduction in Kirkuk by Aswat al-Iraq. October 1, 2011
KIRKUK / Aswat al-Iraq: Three Iraqi Christians and a Turkoman have been freed by police forces in northern Iraq’s Kirkuk Province, after 9 days of their abduction by unknown gunmen, the Director of Kirkuk Police reported on Saturday.
“Our security forces have carried out a campaign, searching for 3 Christians and a Turkoman that were abducted by armed men 9 days ago, close to Daqouq township, 35 km to the south of Kirkuk,” Lt-Brigadier Sarhad Qader told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
He said the campaign had covered the liberation of the 4 men, who were locked in a hiding place in Daqouq township, whilst searching continues for the armed men, who abducted them.
Qader has told Aswat al-Iraq on 21/9/2011 that a group of unknown armed men had abducted 3 Christian citizens in a village near Daqouq township, adding that Army and Police forces began a broad campaign searching for the abducted men.
Noteworthy is that the same area had witnessed the assassination of an official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and a number of his companions last year.
The oil-rich city of Kirkuk is 280 km to the north of Baghdad.
\ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)
1: an ancient empire of Ashur
2: a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern
Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)
a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of
its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender
4: a democratic state that believes in the freedom of
religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the
principles of the United Nations Charter —
Ethnicity, Religion, Language
Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
\ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)
1: descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur
2: the Assyrians, although representing but one single
nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now
doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle
ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding
hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the
East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.
These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the
Christian Era. No one can coherently understand the Assyrians
as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church
from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly
difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for
in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control,
religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a
criterion of nationality.
the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya,
Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean,
Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu,
Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye,
Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. —
1: a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of
the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.
2: has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical
Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.