4The Matrix Mesopotamia under Persians /Zoroastrian The Rest of ME under the Romans/Pagans.The two empires in conflictThe majority of the population were PagansA large Jewish community in Iraq/exiles
5Evangelisation Tradition: Thadaeus &Thomas/Aggai&Mari Travel:Trade & pilgrimageJews from Mesopotamia (Acts 2:5-10)Gradual infiltration amongst Jews, Pagans and Zoroastrians
6The Churches of Iraq The Church of the East/Nestorian/Persian The Syrian Orthodox Church/MiaphysiteThe Chaldean Church 1553/ largestThe Syrian Catholic Church 1662Protestant,Armenian.Anglican.Greek
7The second Century Church Building Intellectual Converts: Tatian, BardaisanKing Abgar VIII converts to ChristianitySynod in Edessa AD 197:Date of EasterThe epitaph of AbercuisRepresentatives in the Council of Nicea
8The Third centuryArdashir in 224 had to deal with the Christians & included the church Kokhe within his new capitalThe Zoroastrian religion was adopted as the official religion of the State in AD and apostasy was punishable by death
9The Fourth CenturyThe Forty Years Persecution/ The Great Persecution/ Shapur II/ ADYazdgird I 399/peace with the RomansAcknowledged the Christians as independent community
10The fifth century410 AD Attended by representative from the Western Church424 AD The C.E becomes self-ruling.Note: before the Councils of Ephesus 431& Chalcedon AD 451
11Characteristics Dyophysite theology /School of Edessa The Syriac language as its hallmarkIncorporated Greek PhilosophyCentres of learning/Scholars & writersAsceticism, Mysticism and MonasticStrongly Missionary
12Arab Abbasid Rule 750-1258 Christians & Jews: People of the book Had to pay special tax-JyziahHad to observe Dhimmi rules:First Category-always bindingSecond: Only applied if stipulated
13Dhimmi Rules IShould not denigrate Islam,the prophet of Islam or misquote the Qur’anMust not undermine a Muslim’s faithMust not help the enemies of IslamMust not approach a Muslim woman unless he converts to IslamApostacy from Islam punishable by death.
14Dhimmi Rules II Non-Muslims wear distinctive clothing Should not erect buildings higher than those of MuslimsMust not allow sound of bells or talk about Jesus to reach a Muslim ear.Must not display crosses, drink wine or eat pork in front of a MuslimShould not ride a horse but a mule or a donkey.
15The Contributions of the Christians to the Abbasid Civilization 750-1258 Pioneered as physicians and had near monopoly in medicineEducators & officials & translatorsProminent philosophersPatriarch conducted dialogues with MuslimThe Translation Process
16Decline Under Muslim Rule Rigidity of application of Dhimmi rules/9CIncrease in number of educated MuslimsIncreasing strength of the Arabic languageDecline in the need of Syriac languageThe church became impoverishedWeakness of the state
17From Abbasid to modern times Mongol ruleTurkoman ruleSavavid ruleStruggle for survival.Seat of the Patriarchate moved from place to place as to where it is safestOttoman rule
18Modern Iraq British rule & Mandate 1918-32 Independent MonarchyDemocracy/schools/modernisationRepublicConflicts/abolition of private education/Iraq-Iran war/sanctions/emigration
19Under Occupation 9 April 2003 Lack of law and orderDestruction of the infrastructurePersecution/Sunni-ShitePersecution/Shi’as & Sunnis of ChristianSurvival of the Christian community under threat
20Attacks on Christians Initially: alcohol dealers, barbers, musicians. Kidnapping: Professionals & rich…RansomWomen forced to wear al-HijabAccusations: Crusaders & American collaborators.Dhimmis & infidels who should convert to Islam, pay the Jyzia, convert, be killed.Calls from Minarets: do not buy their property…they will leave & it is Halal for your.
21Attacks on Churches First concerted attack 1.8.04 Last concerted attackBetween a total of 45 churches & related Christian places of worship have been attacked.Some attacks were concerted with major damage and loss of life, others isolated with little damage & no loss of life
29Attacks on religious personnel August 04 Patriarch Deli threatened (Baghdad)January 2005 Bishop Mousa kidnapped (Mosul)Ra’ad Washan K. (Baghdad)Douglas Al-Bazi & Sa’ad Sirop K.(Bag)Basil Yaldo K. BaghdadOct. 06 Paul Iskander K, murdered & body mutilated (Mosul).Sami al-Rayyis K.& tortured (Baghdad)Raghid Ganni & three deacons assassinated as they were leaving church after service (Mosul).
30Ethnic CleansingDuring the summer of 2007, al-Dora district of Baghdad was attacked by Sunni extremists evicting Shi’a Muslims & Christians from their homes.Christians were asked to convert to Islam, leave their homes, or killed.
31RefugeesEight million Iraqis need humanitarian assistance to ensure their day to day survival (The Times, 18 April 2007).In Syria, 44% of Iraqi Asylum seekers were recorded as Christian since UNHCR began registrations in December 2003 ( Guardian weekly October )
32Iraqi Church LeadersAll Church leaders spoke on various occasions asking to be protected and treated as equal citizensThe Patriarch of the Chaldeans gave a cry for help on 6 May 07. He was in tears after a bomb exploded in a Christian village near a school killing 17 children and injuring over 170 individuals:‘I hold responsible all those who can reach a solution to establish peace and stability in our homeland…’
33Bishop Sako to Asia news ‘We can no longer be silent. We have to remind the world of the importance of the Christian presence in Iraq, for the good of Iraq. Christians are suffering from forced evacuation, rape, kidnap, blackmail and killing. Forcing Christians to leave their homes destroy the cultural, civil and religious mosaic of which Iraq is considered to be the very cradle’.
34Bishop AudoWhat a great loss it would be If Christianity in Iraq is obliterated, not only to Iraq but to the whole Middle east and to the whole Muslim world
35SummaryWithin the general context of violence & lawlessness, the Christians suffer more than other Iraqis as they are specifically targeted by Islamists of both sides.They have no militia to protect them, have no safe haven to go to & no country to support them
36Statement 2005Christians are threatened, intimidated & their livelihood taken from them, their homes & possessions seized & destroyed.The longer we refuse to take action, hundreds of Christians are forced to flee their homes in fear of their lives
37Will this community survive? How can we help Make the plight of the Christians knownWrite to MPMust accept some as refugeesFinancial help for refugees/charities/ICINDialogue/reaching compassionate Muslim voicesWestern countries should support the Eastern Christians by creating a centre for Eastern ChristianitySolving political conflict in the Middle East
38ICIN – Iraqi Christians In Need ICIN is a UK registered Charity which was established to help the Iraqi Christians who, as a result of events during the past few years, have been displaced, destitute, persecuted and are suffering financial hardship.Iraq is no longer front page news but the problems of the Iraqi Christians are still there.Thank you for your support.