shareHome | News | Bet-Nahren, Assyria

Islamic Cleric Incites Muslim Kurds during Friday Prayers,
Attacks on Assyrian Businesses Follow

by various sources. December 01, 2011.

Posted: Monday, December 05, 2011 at 09:54 PM UTC


ZAKHO, Bet-Nahren Assyria (Northern Iraq) — Zakho, meaning victory in the Aramaic language, is the ancestral homeland of the Assyrians.  Security officers in the Dohuk Governate, which includes Zahko, said that "dozens of young men" targeted Christian-owned businesses and attacked at least 15 liquor stores, two massage parlors and two hotels after being incited by Islamic noon prayers on Friday, December 01, 2011.

Contents


A still image from video of the Kurdish Muslims riot against Christian Assyrians in northern Iraq.

A still image from video of a riot in northern Iraq.

Christians Attacked in Iraq by Kurdish Extremists

by Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). December 05, 2011.

The Kurds are often portrayed as the "Good Guys" of Middle Eastern politics. Having endured oppression and violence at the hands of ethnic majorities in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have a story of cultural survival to tell.

Sadly, they are also responsible for the mistreatment of Christians who live among them. The oppression endured by Christians living alongside Kurds passes largely unnoticed in Western media outlets but one attack, which took place in the city of Zakho in Iraq on Dec. 1, 2011 did catch the notice of CNN:

At least 25 people were wounded in northern Iraq in alleged "acts of sabotage" carried out by men who had been "instigated" by Muslim clerics, a Kurdish leader and local security officers said.

The incident occurred Friday afternoon in Zakho, which is in Iraq's Kurdistan region near the Turkish border and about 540 kilometers (335 miles) north of Baghdad.

Security officers in the Dohuk Governate, which includes Zahko, said that "dozens of young men" attacked at least 15 liquor stores, two massage parlors and two hotels after Friday noon prayers.

So far there are no reports of any fatalities as a result of this attack, but the events are still pretty disturbing. Videos of the attack and its aftermath has been uploaded at Ankaw.com, a website that serves the Assyrian community and can be seen herehttp://www.ankawa.org/vshare/view/2735/dohok/, and here. At about 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the last video, a young man can be seen standing on top of a wall with his arms raised. The act of raising his arms elicits cheers of approval from the young men standing across the street. More troubling video can be seen here: (top of this page)

At about four minutes into this video, a crowd of young men can be seen thrashing a storefront. Young men can be heard changing Allahu Akbar! Other young men are seen recording the event with their video cameras. At about 5 minutes, 30 seconds into this video, fire can be seen.

A group of Assyrian activists has issued a petition which provides some more detail:

Thousands of Kurdish Muslim men took to the streets after a Fatwa (religious decree) was issued by a Muslim cleric at a Friday prayer. The Fatwa ordered the Islamists to assault those who violate the Sharia Law. Numerous Christian businesses were destroyed by fire as the criminals stood by watching, congratulating one another for their supposed victory. Video shot by bystanders show men chanting Alah-O-Akbar (God is Great) as they approached Christian stores.

This is not the first attack on Christians by their Kurdish neighbors. In 2005 a researcher compiled a list of anti-Christian attacks associated with the rise of Kurdish power in Iraq. The list can be found here.


Kurdish leader: Clerics 'instigated ... acts of sabotage,' wounding 25

by Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN, December 03, 2011.

At least 25 people were wounded in northern Iraq in alleged "acts of sabotage" carried out by men who had been "instigated" by Muslim clerics, a Kurdish leader and local security officers said.

The incident occurred Friday afternoon in Zakho, which is in Iraq's Kurdistan region near the Turkish border and about 540 kilometers (335 miles) north of Baghdad.

Security officers in the Dohuk Governate, which includes Zahko, said that "dozens of young men" attacked at least 15 liquor stores, two massage parlors and two hotels after Friday noon prayers.

The officers claimed that clerics "instigated" the action. So, too, did Massoud Barzani -- the president of the Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region -- who blamed "men who were instigated by some clerics to carry out acts of sabotage."

The Kurdish leader said, in his statement Saturday, that the attackers targeted "a number of tourist facilities, especially facilities owned by ... Christians and Yazidis."

Religious minorities, such as Christians and Yazidis, make up less than 5% of Iraq's population, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Since 2003, attacks against these minorities by insurgents and religious extremists have driven more than half of these minorities out of the country, according to U.N. statistics.

Yazidis, among Iraq's smallest minorities, are of Kurdish descent, and their religion is considered a pre-Islamic sect that draws from Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism.

Barzani said that, regretfully, "in response to these riotous actions, ... a group of people attacked a number of headquarters of the (Kurdistan) Islamic Union," a prominent political party.

Authorities "made a major effort" to prevent the "acts of sabotage, but they could not," the Kurdish leader said. Several police were among those wounded, according to security officers.

"I denounce these inhumane and illegal acts, and I call on the people of Kurdistan to respect the national, religious and sectarian coexistence and take it as a basic goal for them to live together peacefully," Barzani said.

A special committee has been formed to investigate the incident "and take legal action" against those involved, the Kurdish leader added.


Mob Attacks on Iraqi Christian Businesses Raise Security Concerns

by Judson Berger. FoxNews.com, December 09, 2011.

A rash of attacks on Christian-owned businesses in northern Iraq has raised troubling questions about the future safety of the country's shrinking Christian community, particularly as U.S. forces withdraw completely from the nation they've refereed since 2003.

The attacks, which have received little international attention, raged through northern cities following a sermon last Friday by a local mullah. Video purportedly from the riots posted online shows mobs burning and wrecking businesses, which included liquor stores, hotels and hair salons.

Younadam Kanna, a Christian member of the Iraqi parliament and secretary-general of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, confirmed to FoxNews.com that dozens of shops -- many Christian owned -- were attacked across multiple cities.

"The extremists prepared themselves to attack on more locations ... but they were prevented by local police and security in addition to some guards from the villages," Kanna said in an email.

The incident underscored the perilous circumstance the country's dwindling Christian population finds itself in, as U.S. forces withdraw and the surrounding region takes what could be an Islamist turn, if early results in the Egypt elections are any gauge.

"The Iraqi Christians ... are living in fear," said U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who is pushing for the creation of a special religious freedom envoy in the region. "Now with the forces leaving ... I think the Iraqi Christians are going to go through a very, very difficult time." 

Urging the U.S. government to do more to draw attention to security concerns, Wolf said he "would not be surprised" if Iraqi Christians continue to face these kinds of threats. 

The latest attacks began in the northern city of Zakho, and spread to several other cities. 

According to local media in northern Iraq, the attacks began after a sermon Friday by Mala Ismail Osman Sindi, who reportedly railed against massage parlors in the community. A Muslim mob subsequently tore through the streets to destroy not only a massage parlor but more than two-dozen other businesses. The mullah later denied responsibility for inciting violence in an interview with the Iraqi newspaper Rudaw. 

Kanna catalogued the damages. He told FoxNews.com that in Zakho alone, 16 liquor stores were attacked, 13 of them Christian owned and the rest owned by members of the Kurdish Yazidi community.

The attackers also targeted Yazidi-owned hotels, 11 Christian-owned hair salons, and the massage shop -- which according to Kanna is owned by a Muslim man.

According to the news site Ankawa.com, business owners later received death threats in the event they reopened.

Kanna expressed hope that law enforcement would investigate the crimes. Local officials are now calling for calm.

But David William Lazar, chairman of the American Mesopotamian Organization, suggested the mob attacks were not as spontaneous as they appeared.

"The mobs were carrying pictures and signs, and they knew exactly where to go," he said.

Lazar said the sectarian tensions surely will not dissipate as U.S. forces head home.

"It's a big mess," he said.

Asked who would be around to ensure security for the Christian population, he said: "Basically, no one."

He said Assyrian Christians and other groups are looking to form their own province, which could then stand up a police force -- but that would only cover the province's territory. He noted that the Assyrian Democratic Movement was among the first to disarm after the U.S. invasion.

The Iraqi Christian community has endured a wave of persecution during the Iraq war. According to the American Mesopotamian Organization and the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, the population has dropped from 1.4 million before 2003 to about 600,000.

Juliana Taimoorazy, founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, said the Christians -- who over the past decade have fled to surrounding countries to escape the violence -- are faced with limited options today. She said they simply can't go to Iran,  can't handle more refugees and Syria is no longer safe.

"They don't know what tomorrow or the next day will bring, but really there's nowhere else to go," she said.

She questioned the security for Christians in northern Iraq, claiming the Kurdish regional government there did not initially intervene to stop the recent violence.

She also said it's "disturbing" the U.S. government has not spoken up on the latest attacks.

"We're on the verge of extinction," she said.

Taimoorazy said the weekend attacks did not result in any deaths to her knowledge. Many of the businesses were closed at the time, but she said the attacks caused millions of dollars in damage to the destroyed properties. The violence follows a deadly attack in Baghdad in October 2010, when dozens of Iraqi Christians were killed in an attack on a church.

A State Department official told FoxNews.com on Friday that in light of the recent riots, community leaders in Iraq must "reject such tactics, which only lead to division and violence."

"These riots were incited by hateful and intolerant rhetoric that is harmful to the interests of all Iraqis," the official said, adding that U.S. officials maintain "regular contact" with local officials in the region. The official noted that the Kurdistan Regional Government took "swift action" to combat the riots last Friday and condemned the attacks. The official said offices of the Kurdistan Islamic Union Party were also attacked.

Wolf praised the American Embassy team in Iraq and said they are well aware of the threats Iraqi Christians face. He urged the Obama administration to do more to speak up on the issue.

"They know this is a problem," he told FoxNews.com. "Our government ought to be advocating and ought to be pushing."


A scene from Zakho's Friday riots in northern Iraq. Photo: Rudaw.

A scene from Zakho's Friday riots in northern Iraq. Photo: Rudaw.

Mullah Denies Responsibility for Kurdish Riots


by Hevidar Ahmed and Ahmed Iminki. Rudaw, December 12, 2011.

ZAKHO, Iraqi Kurdistan — The preacher blamed for inciting widespread riots last week in Dohuk province has denied accusations that he provoked his followers into destroying businesses deemed un-Islamic.

Following Mala Ismail Osman Sindi’s Friday sermon in which he claimed prostitution was occurring in massage parlors in the Kurdish border town of Zakho, a group of young men set alight the town’s only massage parlor, a dozen liquor stores and three hotels. Many of the businesses were owned by minority Christian Assyrians and Yezidis.

The violence later spread to the city of Dohuk and Sumel, where rioters torched the offices of the Kurdistan Islamic Union, ransacked.

In an interview with Rudaw, Sindi said, “I’m not the only one talking about massage parlors. Everyone else is talking about it and I may have been the last person to address that issue. In my sermon, I only said that instead of massage parlors, people should build mosques.”

Saeed Ibrahim, a resident of Zakho who attended Sindi’s service, told Rudaw, “After the mullah spoke about massage parlors, one man stood up and shouted ‘Since there are haram (un-Islamic) things in Zakho, we should not tolerate it and we should destroy them.’”

Sindi confirmed that someone indeed stood up and encouraged people to burn the massage parlors.

“But I told him that if he left to attack the parlors before the Friday sermon was over, his prayers wouldn’t be accepted (by God),” said Sindi. “The person was a member of the Kurdistan Islamic Union.”

Samyan Abdulkhaliq, director of the office of religious affairs in Zakho, told Rudaw that they will investigate Sindi.

“We’ll investigate and if we find out that that mullah did indeed encourage people to be disruptive, we will take our own measures with him even before the courts take the case,” he said.

An eyewitness to Friday’s incidents in Zakho told Rudaw, “After the Friday sermon, a large number of people gathered in front of the massage parlor, attacked and set it on fire. Later on, they stormed liquor stores and women’s hair salons.”

Ramazan Ismail Mustafa, head of the tourism department in Zakho said, “Twenty liquor stores, three hotels, a massage parlor and a women’s hair salon were set on fire.”

According to Ismail Mustafa Rashid, the mayor of the town of Sumel, four liquor stores were burnt in their town.

Zakho is located on Iraqi Kurdistan’s border with Turkey. It is about 300 miles north of Baghdad and less than 10 kilometers from Turkey, and is considered one of the most important trade gateways of Iraq.

Zakho is an ethnically and religiously diverse town where Kurds, Assyrian Christians, Yazidis, Armenians and some Arab families live side by side.

According to eyewitnesses, some rioters tried to attack the Christian quarter of town on Friday, but the guards of political party offices opened fire above people’s heads and stopped them from reaching the neighborhood.

Later on Friday, a group of people torched an Islamic Union office in Zakho. Later the Islamic Union’s offices were stormed in Duhok, Sumel and Kasrok.

Ismail Ravandi, a member of the Islamic Union’s leadership, told Rudaw, “In total, 10 of our party offices were destroyed in Duhok province, among them radio, TV stations and newspaper offices.”

Ghazi Saeed, the head of the Islamic Union’s branch in Dohuk, estimated the damage was about US$10 million.

Following last week’s unrest, the Islamic Union and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which controls Dohuk province, exchanged sharp words and accusations.

The KDP held the Islamic Union responsible for causing the violence and the Islamic Union said the people who attacked its offices were members of the KDP.

Abu Zerro, KDP’s acting representative in Zakho said, “It’s so obvious. A few days before the incidents, plans (for the attack) had been drawn up inside the local offices of the Islamic Union; therefore, the Islamic Union is responsible for what happened.”

But Nasraddin Saeed, head of the Islamic Union’s branch in Zakho, rejected the KDP’s claims, saying, “It was only an excuse to attack our offices.”

Saeed said, “We heard the KDP was planning to attack our offices and we immediately called the city’s police chief, but he said ‘You are behind the unrest and you’ll have to pay the price.’”

KDP’s Abu Zerro said that Saeed made the situation worse by talking to the media and saying that his office was under threat before anything had happened.

“I tried to get in touch with him and tell him to try to calm down the situation,” Abu Zerro said. “If, in his statement to the media, he had told people to maintain order, their offices wouldn’t have been attacked.”

Ashti Kochar, Dohuk’s security chief, told Rudaw that the Islamic Union seemed to have braced itself for the attacks at least a week in advance.

“A week before the incidents, the Islamic Union evacuated all their buildings in Zakho and one night before the incidents, they broadcasted a program on their television channel in which they encouraged people to act against liquor stores and massage parlors.”

Abdulwahid Taha, an anchor at the Islamic Union’s local TV channel in Zakho, said the channel had aired a program the night before the attacks where viewers called in and expressed their anger against the city’s liquor stores and massage parlors.

“On the day of the attacks, the Islamic Union’s main office was completely evacuated hours before the mob reached them,” Taha said.

In a press conference on Saturday, Salahaddin Bahaddin, secretary-general of the Islamic Union, held the KDP responsible for the attacks on his party’s offices.

“Yesterday’s events in the Badinan region didn’t have anything to do with Islamic Union,” Bahaddin said. “Those events are scenarios to kill any chance of reform and peace. Therefore we hold the KDP, Kurdistan’s presidency and the government responsible for those attacks on our offices and we will take matter to court.”

On Friday, the KDP condemned the violent acts in an official statement. The KDP also rejected the claims of the Islamic Union accusing the KDP of inciting people to storm their offices.

Jaafar Ibrahim, spokesperson for KDP’s politburo said, “Accusing the KDP is unfair. The events were still unfolding when a group of people started accusing the KDP of causing it all. It reminded us of the events of February 17 when our office (in Sulaimani) was attacked and they later blamed us for it.”

Ibrahim said he doesn’t think one mullah alone could incite that much violence.

“What happened in Zakho was pre-planned,” he said. “Many other mullahs have said things more hostile than the mullah in Zakho and yet no one acted on their words. But in Zakho, it was obviously a plan and some people waved banners reading ‘There Is No God but Allah.’ Groups of people had been assigned to attack certain places.”

But the Islamic Union denied any connections to the violence.

A statement by the party read, “The Islamic Union does not have any preachers in that city (Zakho) to justify the violence.”

Ravandi, of the Islamic Union, said, “Why did the police and security forces not seal off the offices of the Islamic Union? Not only that, the police stood among the people and looked on, without doing anything to stop them.”

KDP’s Abu Zerro in Zakho said, “The riots were huge and there weren’t enough security forces to control it all. The security forces were busy maintaining the city’s security and if there were enough of them to protect the Islamic Union offices, they would have also been able to protect the liquor stores and massage parlors.”

On Saturday, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani released a statement in which he condemned the incidents of Zakho.

“Unfortunately, on Friday some mullahs and a group of youth committed unlawful acts and caused instability in Zakho,” Barzani’s statement read. “They attacked some tourist locations especially those of Christians and Yezidis and it seems the attacks had been pre-planned.”

Barzani said instability in the Kurdistan region is unacceptable and that a special committee will investigate Friday’s incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Protecting harmony among Kurdish communities is not only the responsibility of Kurdistan government,” he said in his statement. “It’s everyone’s responsibility and we won’t allow anyone to threaten this harmony.”

Barzani also described the attacks on the Islamic Union as “an unjust act.”


Michael Benyamin, Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM,

Michael Benyamin, Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM, "Zowaa")

Duhuk events are negative indications for Christians, Assyrian Movement


by Aswat Al-Iraq.info. December 05, 2011.

ARBIL / Aswat al-Iraq: A leader at the Assyrian Democratic Movement described the recent violent events in Duhuk province as "negative indicator for the Christian presence in the province".

Michael Benyamin of Zaho Assyrian Democratic Movement pointed that that "these actions will negatively affect the democratic process in Kurdistan", pointing that "the Christians are changing views thatKurdistanis a safe haven for them".

He expressed astonishment on the security forces stands on the even where "they became just spectators, which matter needs governmental answers".

Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani stressed, from Zakho town, the necessity to preserve the dominance of law, pointing that the investigations are going on in the last 2-day events.

In a speech before Zakho citizens, he confirmed that "no one or part is permitted to incite the people to commit violent actions inKurdistan".

President Barzani, who arrived in Zakho this morning, confirmed that the investigations are underway.

Sources in the town said that the visit was expected to counter the tense situation there, following last Friday action to burn beverages stores and the Islamic Party headquarters.

Three hotels, Chinese spa and more than ten stores were burnt by hundreds of protestors who claimed that these places undertake illegal and immoral activities.

The riots moved to Duhuk city where some tourist casinos were burnt.

Security forces were scattered all over the province.

These attacks stirred certain fears among the Christians and Izidis who trade in such works and commodities.


Cleaning the stores after the attacks by Muslim Kurds

Zakho, Iraqi Islamic extremists attack Christian-owned shops and properties

by AsiaNews.it.
December 03, 2011.

In a YouTube video images of the assault that took place yesterday in Iraqi Kurdistan, a few kilometres from the border with Turkey. The violence started after Friday prayers triggered by imam’s sermon. Christian personalities: since the Arab Spring, radical Islam is "more dangerous".

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - A group of protesters linked to the Islamic extremist wing, composed mostly of young people, yesterday stormed several Christian-owned shops, a hotel and a beauty parlour. The violence erupted yesterday afternoon in the town of Zakho, about 470 km from Baghdad, Iraqi Kurdistan located a few kilometers from the border with Turkey, and caused the wounding of at least 30 people, including 20 policemen. The fundamentalist wrath was unleashed by the vitriolic sermon of an imam in the local mosque, after which punitive raids were launched across the city. Pro-government Kurdish factions have already responded to the onslaught of the xtremist groups, who burned at least six sites of the Islamic Party of Kurdistan in the city and surrounding areas.

A video posted on YouTube (click here to view it), shows the assault against Christian shops and properties. Local Christian sources interviewed by AsiaNews - anonymous for security reasons - were involved in the raid confirm that "hundreds of people, especially young people" destroyed "at least 13 liquor shops, but the number could reach 30. Witnesses added that "the police did not react" and it is likely that "the assault was pre-planned." The extremist crowd, that carried out the attack in Zakho, then headed for Sumaili - town 15 km from Dohuk, the third largest Kurdish city - where once again exercises owned by Christians and Yazidis were targeted.

In Sumaili, said the source for AsiaNews, there are at least 200 Christian families who are now terrified. The violence continued in the Christian village of Shiuz, where 180 families live, and " the Kurdish police intervened to restore calm only two hours later ". "The extremist crowd - he adds - chanted jihad, or holy war, and anti-Christian slogans."

The Christian community in the region experienced a day of panic and terror at the hands of extremists and abandoned by local authorities. "These events - warns the source - lead to the faithful fleeing their native lands. In Mosul, Kirkuk and Baghdad, the police took steps to protect churches and places of worship. "

Iraqi Kurdistan has long been the center of a bitter conflict between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen for control of the lands and oil fields that surround it, the dispute also involves the Christian minority, who are victims of violence and vendettas. Iraqi Christian figures confirm that fundamentalist Islam - after the initial auspices related to "Arab Spring", which led to a cautious optimism - has become "much more aggressive and dangerous for non-Muslims." (DS)


Demand Protection for the Assyrian Christians in Iraq

by American Mesopotamian Organization and Iraqi Christian Relief Council.
December 03, 2011.

The vulnerable Christian Assyrian nation (also known as Chaldean and Syriac), the indigenous people of the land, have yet again come under fire in Iraq. Thousands of Kurdish Muslim men took to the streets after a Fatwa (religious decree) was issued by a Muslim cleric at a Friday prayer. The Fatwa ordered the Islamists to assault those who violate the Sharia Law. Numerous Christian businesses were destroyed by fire as the criminals stood by watching, congratulating one another for their supposed victory. Video shot by bystanders show men chanting Alah-O- Akbar (God is Great) as they approached Christian stores. These crimes against humanity create a renewed fear in the hearts of a community which has been reduced from 1.4 million prior to 2003 to currently a mere 600,000. 

We at the American Mesopotamian Organization and the Iraqi Christian Relief Council strongly condemn these heinous acts. 

We moreover ask:

  • The United Nations and human rights organizations throughout the world to stop turning a blind eye on the plight of the Christians in Iraq.
  • The world powers, particularly the United States Government, to break their silence and demand justice for a nation (Assyrian) which has endured numerous loss of lives and property for almost a decade. 
  • All American citizens to sign this petition and send a strong message to President Obama and to their State Representatives and demand answers from the State Department in regards to these criminal acts committed against the Assyrian people in Iraq. 
  • The US Congress and the Obama Administration to put an indefinite freeze on all funds allotted to the Kurdistan Regional Government until a full investigation has been completed and the perpetrators of these dreadful acts are brought to justice.

We also urge the representatives in the US House and Senate to support legislation proposed by the Senate Appropriations Committee for the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations of 2012:

“The Committee continues to recognize the importance of providing targeted assistance to ethno-religious minorities in Iraq to help ensure their continued survival, especially those living in the Nineveh Plains region. The Committee directs the Department of State to submit a report, not later than 60 days after enactment of this act, detailing a comprehensive U.S. Government policy to assist these communities, including assistance consistent with Article125 of the Iraqi Constitution; assistance in building an indigenous community police force in the Nineveh Plains; and efforts to support NGOs in the region. The policy should be forward-looking, rather than a summary of previously funded projects and initiatives.”


AUOI Condemns Continuous Oppression of Assyrians in Iraq

by Assyrian United Organizations of Illinois. December 14, 2011.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

As the United States prepares to withdraw its troops from Iraq, a horrible wave of terrorism has swept several towns in the Kurdistan Region. On Friday, December 2, 2011, starting in Zakho, thousands of young men paraded through several areas, destroying, pillaging and burning shops, hotels, and other properties. The attacks spread to 5 other towns and carry the hallmarks of an organized campaign. Their targets were the properties of the indigenous inhabitants of the area; the Chaldean Syriac Assyrians and the Yezidis, who have been the subjects of severe persecution. Shockingly, security forces in the region seemed to be non-existent during critical hours.

The Chaldean Syriac Assyrian community of the United States condemns these acts of terrorism as a tactic to intimidate and drive our people out of Iraq, and calls upon the Kurdistan Regional Government to act swiftly and justly to investigate this crime and to punish the instigators and participants.

We further call upon the United States government to reevaluate its departure from Iraq, and work with the Iraqi authorities and the United Nations to move toward a viable and lasting solution in the form of the recognition, under the constitution of Iraq, the Province in the Nineveh Plain as a mechanism to protect the safety, property, culture, and identity of our peopleand that of other vulnerable minorities who coexist in the area. For over 8 years, the continued targeting of these minorities in Iraq has resulted in an exodus that has threatened their very existence. The world today cannot and should not allow the destruction of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian community and other minorities in Iraq.

The Iraqi government and Kurdistan Regional Government's lack of sufficient response and meaningful concrete movement toward a solution, along with the insufficient response of the security forces of the KRG to the latest attack, have formed a resolve in our community. A viable and permanent solution - in the form of the Nineveh Plain province must move forward immediately.

History must not repeat itself. The Semele massacre of innocent Assyrian women, children, unarmed men, and priests in 1933 lingers in our memories, as does the crime committed against our people at the Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad last year. Those who attacked Semele again, where the bones of our ancestors cry out for justice, must know of our resolve. We stand united in seeking a dignified solution to the plight of minorities in Iraq.

We call upon the Iraqi Government and all of its branches to move swiftly and immediately toward the establishment and recognition of the Nineveh Plains Province, to allow the minorities the security and protection under law. We call upon the government of the United States to consider the importance of its role and responsibility, under international law and obligations, in considering its next steps in Iraq. In the very immediate future, the United States has the chance to pass policy language currently adopted by the United State Senate for the 2012 appropriation that will support progress towards the formation of the Nineveh Plain Province.  We finally call upon the United Nations, pursuant to the various treaties and charters, to consider the current plight of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrians and the Yezidis, Shabek and Turkmen with utmost concern.

Assyrian United Organizations of Illinois:

Assyrian Aid Society of America - Chicago
Assyrian American Association of Chicago
Assyrian American Civic Club of Chicago
Assyrian American National Federation - Midwest Region
Assyrian American Police Association
Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Student Movement
Assyrian Democratic Movement - Chicago
Assyrian Democratic Organization - Chicago
Assyrian Democratic Party - Chicago
Assyrian Liberation Movement - Chicago
Assyrian National Council of Illinois
Assyrian Patriotic Party - Chicago
Assyrian Teachers Association of America
Assyrian Universal Alliance - Chicago
Bet Nahrain Democratic Party - Chicago
Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Council of America - Chicago
Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council - Chicago


Appeal to President of European Parliament,
Mr. Jerzy Buzek and the other members of EP

by Assyrian Organizations in Armenia and Europe. December 21, 2011.

Dear Sirs,

We appeal to you with the request to state your opinion about the persecution of the non-Muslim population – the Assyrians, Armenians and Yezids, on the territory of Iraq since 2003. Another violence has occurred in the north of the country, the so called Kurdistan, on December 2. The disorders and violence lasted 2-3 days. Ethnic cleansing of the non-Muslim population took place with tacit consent of the federal and regional authorities of the country, maybe even with their consent.

On Friday, December 2, after the midday prayer, a crowd of militant fanatics attacked the Christian area Al-Nasara in the Zakho city. Kurdish Islamites set fire to bars, wine-alcohol shop, Barber salons, restaurants and Hotels belonging to Christians, mainly to those owned by Assyrian Community. The mass-media informed that the fundamentalist wrath was unleashed by the sermon of one of the radical imams in the local mosque. Initially the crowd consisted of 50 people, but soon hundreds of thugs joined them.

The information of the local Assyrian Community representatives about the lost control situation was confirmed by official people, including the head of Kurdish regional autonomy, Mr Massoud Barzani. Unfortunately, the vacuum of safety extended to nearby areas of the Assyrian Christians. Pogroms quickly reached the neighboring cities of Simele, Shiyooz and Zawitha Here literally all shops belonging to the Assyrians and Yezids were burnt. The hostile attitude to non-Muslim population rose in the province of Dohuk where, in Nohadra, the building of the Assyrian cultural centre was almost completely destroyed including attacks on few Churches.

We are assured that the International Political Organizations should not be indifferent to the repetition of genocide of the peoples having exposed to extermination in the territory of Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century, and being exposed to genocide in the territory of Iraq at present, at the beginning of the 21st century. The terror continuing the policy of misanthropic genocide and ethnic cleansing of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and Yezids, established by the Ottoman authorities continues now, and inactivity of the International Community can be considered as a tacit consent with these events.

The present events show again that the absence of timely recognition and condemnation of the Christian peoples’ Genocide in Turkey, carried out about 100 years ago by the Turkish authorities and Kurdish gangs, indulges new such crimes.

As practice has shown that in modern Iraq those who are guilty of purposeful destruction of Assyrians, Armenians and Yezids, as a rule avoid punishment, we consider it necessary to urge openly the federal and regional government of this country to begin impartial investigation of December’s pogroms and to punish their organizers and executors, as well as all those people in freedom guilty of other numerous crimes against ethnic and confessional minorities of Iraq!

We address to you as to the Authoritative World Organizations, which carry out cooperation principles for international peace and safety, to put forward for discussion the question of the non-Muslim population of the so called Kurdistan, exposed to Genocide and we ask you:

  1. To direct the International observers for the control over investigation,
  2. To put forward the question for consideration of General Assembly of the United Nations
  3. To provide protection to Christian population of Iraq which possibly if to create the Assyria Federal Region in North of Iraq according to the fixed right of indigenous population in the Constitution of Iraq.

We hope that the World Organizations will not be limited to half measures because your actions can be considered as deliberate delay of solving the situation in order to give the Kurdish and Arab islamites the chance to clean the territory from the non-Muslim autochthons of Iraq.

Sincerely,

Contact person: Irina Gasparyan,
Head of Federation of Assyrian Organizations of Armenia «KHAYADTA»
48 Garibjanyan Str., 0050, Yerevan, RA,
tel: +374 91 432961, +374 94 432961
IrinaSG [ a t ] yahoo.com, Irkongas [ a t ] gmail.com, Irkongas [ a t ] mail.ru

Vahan Ed. Hovhannesyan
National Assembly of Armenia, MP
Member of the Euronest PA Bureau
Head of the Armenian Delegation
Tel: +37410 526 648, v.e.hovhannesyan [ a t ] gmail.com

XENOPHOBIA PREVENTION INITIATIVE NGO,
Adibekyan Armine, Tel: +374 10 56 18 28
www.stopxenophobia.org

Yerevan Belorus Community of Armenia «Belorus»,
Irina Pogosyan, tel: +374 93 117323
poghossiantabolich [ a t ] yandex.ru

Moscow Regional Ethnic Cultural Autonomy of Assyrians,
Ph.D Iosif Zaya
22 Sharikopodshipnikovskaya Str., Moscow 115088,
tel: +7499 613-17-47,
josephzaya [ a t ] yahoo.com

«Saved Relics»,
Manushak Khodjayan
Tel: +374 91 306514
Saved_relics [ a t ] yahoo.com

«Araza» NGO,
Tel: (077) 690-467
araza [ a t ] arminco.com, araza.ngo [ a t ] gmail.com

Latvian Assyrian Cultural Centre,
Pavel Saiadov,
pavel [ a t ] sta.lv

Assyrian Association of Ukraine «Assyria»,
55, Gorky street, flat 77, Zaporozhe, Ukraine, 69063
assyriandiaspora [ a t ] ukr.net

The education-cultural Center «AREG»
Elena Akopyan,
mob: (+37493)77-55-20
elena_akopyan [ a t ] inbox.ru

 

«Khabreh D’atouraye» – «Assyrian News»,
Assyrian newspaper of CIS
Tel: +380671743587,
assyriansociety [ a t ] mail.ru

«Free society institute» NGO
Edgar Hakobyan,
tel: +374 77 103666
Freesoc2001 [ a t ] yahoo.com

International Assyrian Coordination Council (IACC),
Alexey Tamrazov,
tel: +380971749046
Sargon_tamr [ a t ] ukr.net

The Union of the Russian Federation Diasporas (SDR),
Mushegyan Vardan
mobile: +79104002323,
sdrf [ a t ] inbox.ru

«Huysi Kamar», Arsen Hovhanisyan
tel: +374 55 777 842
Huysikamar [ a t ] mail.ru

Nash Dom «Armenia»,
Nikolay Babadjanyan,
Mob: +37491707319,
Fakel_nda [ a t ] yahoo.com

The Center of Socialist Researches «Caucasus»
Hovanes Hovanesyan,
tel: +374 91 277899
Coucas-ngo [ a t ] yahoo.com

Armenian Progressive Youth (APY)
59 Teryan Str., Yerevan, RA
Grigor Eritsyan,
apy.apy [ a t ] .am

The Armenian Technological Academy
Eduard Edipiselov, Vice-President
App. 48, 2/2 Avan-Arindj str., Yerevan, RA
Tel: +374 93 83-40-09
Edasin1 [ a t ] rambler.ru

The Centre of Development of Civil Society
Viktor Solakhyan, Vice-President
App. 16, 21 Estonskaya Str., Yerevan, RA
Tel: +374 94 507618
Solvic2001 [ a t ] yahoo.com


Deputy of Armenian Parliament, Assyrian organizations, and other organizations appeal to President of Armenia, The Chairman of the Parliament of the Armenia and the Members of the Parliament of the Armenia over persecution of non-Muslim population in Iraq

by Assyrian Organizations in Armenia and Europe. December 22, 2011.

Dear Sirs,

We appeal to you with the request to state your opinion about the persecution of the non-Muslim population – the Assyrians, Armenians and Yezids, on the territory of Iraq since 2003. Another violence has occurred in the north of the country, the so called Kurdistan, on December 2. The disorders and violence lasted 2-3 days. Ethnic cleansing of the non-Muslim population took place with tacit consent of the federal and regional authorities of the country, maybe even with their consent.

On Friday, December 2, after the midday prayer, a crowd of militant fanatics attacked the Christian area Al-Nasara in the Zakho city. Kurdish Islamites set fire to bars, wine-alcohol shop, Barber salons, restaurants and Hotels belonging to Christians, mainly to those owned by Assyrian Community. The mass-media informed that the fundamentalist wrath was unleashed by the sermon of one of the radical imams in the local mosque. Initially the crowd consisted of 50 people, but soon hundreds of thugs joined them.

The information of the local Assyrian Community representatives about the lost control situation wa confirmed by official people, including the head of Kurdish regional autonomy, Mr Massoud Barzani. Unfortunately, the vacuum of safety extended to nearby areas of the Assyrian Christians. Pogroms quickly reached the neighboring cities of Simele, Shiyooz and Zawitha Here literally all shops belonging to the Assyrians and Yezids were burnt. The hostile attitude to non-Muslim population rose in the province of Dohuk where, in Nohadra, the building of the Assyrian cultural centre was almost completely destroyed including attacks on few Churches.

We are assured that the politicians of a country, the people of which were exposed to attacks time and again, cannot be indifferent to the destiny of the peoples being exposed to genocide in the territory of Iraq in the 21st century. The peoples who have suffered total destruction in the territory of Ottoman and Kemalist Turkey, cannot but regard similar events as terror continuing the policy of misanthropic genocide and ethnic cleansing of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and Yezids, established by the Ottoman authorities.

The present events show again that the absence of timely recognition and condemnation of the Christian peoples' Genocide in Turkey, carried out about 100 years ago by the Turkish authorities and Kurdish gangs, indulges new such crimes.

As practice has shown that in modern Iraq those who are guilty of purposeful destruction of Assyrians, Armenians and Yezids, as a rule avoid punishment, we consider it necessary to urge openly the federal and regional government of this country to begin impartial investigation of December's pogroms and to punish their organizers and executors, as well as all those people in freedom guilty of other numerous crimes against ethnic and confessional minorities of Iraq!

We also appeal to you, as to the representative of the country which is a member of the authoritative international organizations and agreements, to address to the World Organizations and to bring up for discussion the question of the non-Muslin population of the so called Kurdistan, exposed to Genocide, and to propose the following:

  •  To direct the International observers for the control over investigation,
  •  To provide safety of the non-Muslim population of Iraq,
  •  To put forward the question for consideration of General Assembly of the United Nations.

Sincerely,

Contact person: Irina Gasparyan,
Head of Federation of Assyrian Organizations of Armenia «KHAYADTA»
48 Garibjanyan Str., 0050, Yerevan, RA,
tel: +374 91 432961, +374 94 432961
IrinaSG [ a t ] yahoo.com, Irkongas [ a t ] gmail.com, Irkongas [ a t ] mail.ru

Vahan Ed. Hovhannesyan
National Assembly of Armenia, MP
Member of the Euronest PA Bureau
Head of the Armenian Delegation
Tel: +37410 526 641, v.e.hovhannesyan [ a t ] gmail.com

XENOPHOBIA PREVENTION INITIATIVE NGO,
Adibekyan Armine, Tel: +374 99 561854
www.stopxenophobia.org

Moscow Regional Ethnic Cultural Autonomy of Assyrians,
Ph.D Iosif Zaya
22 Sharikopodshipnikovskaya Str.,
Moscow 115088
tel: +7499 613-17-47
josephzaya [ a t ] yahoo.com

«Araza» NGO,
Tel: (077) 690-467
araza [ a t ] arminco.com
araza.ngo [ a t ] gmail.com

Assyrian Association of Ukraine «Assyria»,
55, Gorky street,
flat 77,
Zaporozhe, Ukraine, 69063
assyriandiaspora [ a t ] ukr.net

«Khabreh D'atouraye» - «Assyrian News»,
Assyrian newspaper of CIS
Tel: +380671743587,
assyriansociety [ a t ] mail.ru

International Assyrian Coordination Council (IACC),
Alexey Tamrazov
tel: +380971749046
Sargon_tamr [ a t ] ukr.net

«Huysi Kamar» Arsen Hovhanisyan
tel: +374 55 777 842
Huysikamar [ a t ] mail.ru

The Center of Socialist Researches «Caucasus»
Hovanes Hovanesyan
tel: +374 91 277899
Coucas-ngo [ a t ] yahoo.com

The Armenian Technological Academy
Eduard Edipiselov, Vice-President
App. 48, 2/2 Avan-Arindj str.,
Yerevan, RA
Tel: +374 93 83-40-09
Edasin1 [ a t ] rambler.ru

 

Yerevan Belorus Community of Armenia «Belorus»,
Irina Pogosyan, tel: +374 93 117323
poghossiantabolich [ a t ] yandex.ru

«Saved Relics»,
Manushak Khodjayan
Tel: +374 91 306514
Saved_relics [ a t ] yahoo.com

Latvian Assyrian Cultural Centre,
Pavel Saiadov
pavel [ a t ] sta.lv

The education-cultural Center «AREG»
Elena Akopyan
mobile: (+37493)77-55-20
elena_akopyan [ a t ] inbox.ru

«Free society institute» NGO
Edgar Hakobyan,
tel: +374 77 103666
Freesoc2001 [ a t ] yahoo.com

The Union of the Russian Federation Diasporas (SDR),
Mushegyan Vardan
Mobile: +79104002323
sdrf [ a t ] inbox.ru

Nash Dom «Armenia»,
Nikolay Babadjanyan,
Mobile: +37491707319
Fakel_nda [ a t ] yahoo.com

Armenian Progressive Youth (APY)
59 Teryan Str.,
Yerevan, RA
Grigor Eritsyan
apy.apy [ a t ] am

The Centre of Development of Civil Society Viktor
Solakhyan, Vice-President
App. 16, 21 Estonskaya Str.,
Yerevan, RA
Tel: +374 94 507618
Solvic2001 [ a t ] yahoo.com

 




Assyrian Villages and Monasteries

The Assyrian Statehood: Yesterday’s Denial and Today’s Moral Obligation

Assyria or Kurdistan?

Indigenous People in Distress

Assyrian American National Federation letter to U.S. Vice-President, Richard Cheney: Assyrian Homes & Lands

Inundation of Ashur: Ancient Assyrian Capital on the Brink of Extinction

Iraq Forcing Indigenous Assyrians to Flee

Assyrian Christian Minority Feels Threatened

Iraq: Forcible Expulsions of Ethnic Minorities

Assyrian Christians, What Will Their Fate Be?

Changing Indigenous Peoples' National Identity by a Governmental Decree

Iraqi Regime (Ba'ath Party) — Top Secret Internal Memo: Plan of Action

Iraq’s Embattled Christians

Human Rights Violations Against Assyrians

Municipal Elections in Northern Iraq Marred by Threats of Violence — The Kurdish Elections

300 years Old Church was Converted to Mosque with One Petition

Turkey Destroys Assyrian Villages
 

News Forum

News in Bet-Nahren, Assyria

Assyrian Villages and Monasteries in Amadiya, Aqra, and Barwari Regions
Assyrian Villages in Hakkari Region
Assyrian Villages and Monasteries in Gazarta Region

Do you have any related information or suggestions? Please email them.
AIM | Atour: The State of Assyria | Terms of Service