Iraq: Christians demanding autonomy after the devastating Terror Attack in a Catholic church in Baghdad

After the devastating Terror Attack in a Syrian-Catholic Church in Baghdad, representatives of the christian Assyrians-Chaldaeas-Aramaens in Iraq are demanding an autonomously administered region for their people in the Niniveh-Province in the north of the country. „The Christians, Shabak, Yezidi and muslim Kurds represent the majority of the population in the Niniveh-Region. Therefore this demand of the assyrian-chaldaea-aramaen’s council is highly justified“, explained the President of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), Tilman Zülch, on Monday in Göttingen. „The granting of autonomy could help to improve the public-safety if this area is connected to the peaceful Iraqi-Kurdish region. The situation there has been secure for years and the policy of the local government concerning different nationalities is exemplary for the entire Middle East.“ Many Christians were allowed to move to Iraqi Kurdistan because they have relatives living there.

„The Iraqi constitution permits the formation of autonomous districts and provides for a referendum on affiliation, including the Niniveh province“, reported Zülch. „The referendum should be carried out soon. It is in the interests of the security of all minorities.“

The STP, which has an independent section in the Northern Iraq, has maintained a „Chronicle of Violence“ for many years regarding the Christians and minorities in Iraq. The Bloodbath in the church wiped out entire families like the christian family Thamer Kamel Osi: husband, wife and their two children were killed during the attack. At least 39 Christians are said to have been killed, including the two priests Wassim Sabih and Thaer Saad Abdal, and at least 120 people injured.

According to STP research, since 2003 more than three quarters of the 400.000 Christians have fled the metropolis of Baghdad with its five million residents. Due to the steady terror-menace many Christians are afraid to go to mass or send their children to Christian schools.

The continuously updated chronicle can be requested. Send e-mail to nahost@gfbv.de. Tilman Zülch is available under Tel. 0049 151 153 09 888.

Translated by Martin Weimann