Is Christianity In Iraq Gone For Good?

Joel Baden and Candida Moss write

The destructive force of  the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the militant Sunni movement, is epitomized in a video released Thursday of ISIS members smashing a tomb in Mosul, Iraq.  The tomb is traditionally thought to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, a holy site for Christians and many Muslims.  Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, is built on and adjacent to the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, the setting for the biblical book of Jonah and once the most powerful capital of the ancient world.  Indeed, for most people familiar with the Bible, Nineveh is inseparable from the figure of Jonah. …

But it is not the historical reality that is at stake in Mosul today. The destruction of Jonah’s tomb was not an attack on archaeology. It was an attack on both those Christians living in Iraq today and on the rich, if little-known, Christian heritage of the region.  When people think of ancient Christianity, they don’t ordinarily think of Iraq. But the Christian communities there are among the oldest in the world. …

Despite its antiquity and rich tradition, Christianity in Iraq is on the brink of eradication.  The heirs to those who first discovered the tomb of Jonah, and those who helped to keep Greek philosophy alive in the medieval period, are being ejected from their homes and from a land they have held sacred for centuries. This is the face and reality of Christian persecution.

And they write other stuff too, ending with this question:

Jonah was one of the earliest symbols of the resurrection for Christians. Will Christianity ever rise again in Iraq?

No.  That’s the tragic answer.  Radical Islam has accomplished the unthinkable.  It has exterminated Christianity in Iraq.  The Bush War set the whole sequence of events in motion and history will doubtless hold him responsible as the fountainhead of all the evil which has befallen Iraq and its Christians.

2 thoughts on “Is Christianity In Iraq Gone For Good?

  1. Milton Almeida - The Grace Ambassador 25 Jul 2014 at 12:11 pm

    In all fairness, as a Bush supporter in that war (up to a point) the law of unintended consequences came heavily and with a vengeance here. The foolish “I wish I knew then what I know now” is appropriate, but still foolish! I hope no one commits the same mistake with Assad, because my Arab friend who is a Christian told me that if he is gone, not only Christians will be gone from Syria, but also, as in Iraq, Christian history. The question is obvious: Should Christians then be complacent with a murderous dictator because it will hurt their history and status, and event heir survival? Tough question, I guess!


  2. Jona Lendering 25 Jul 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Maronite Lebanon will be next. Four million people, about half of them Christian (Maronite and others). One and a half million Syrian refugees. The demographic balance has been changed decisively.

    A Maronite friend of mine, who had a good job at an international school, has taken leave to work as volunteer to teach the illiterate Syrians. Mind you: those very Syrians occupied Lebanon from 1975 to 2008. Here is a Christian woman who is aware of what is going on and has decided that Christianity must die in style.


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