Iraqi Security Forces are Building Trenches to Protect Christians

Washington, D.C. (July 23, 2009) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Iraqi Security forces are building trenches to protect Christians from further attacks following recent church bombings that killed four people and wounded several others.

Iraqi officials are stepping up protective measures for Christians in the largely Christian towns of Tilkaif and Hamdaniya, in the northern province of Nineveh.

The trenches come in the wake of a spate of bomb attacks against seven Iraqi churches on July 11 and 12 in the cities of Baghdad and Mosul.

“These trenches will require people to enter towns through 4 or 5 secure checkpoints making it far more difficult to smuggle in weapons and bombs. The construction of the trenches is a sad but necessary reminder of just how desperate the situation of the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac Christians is becoming,” said Michael Youash in the statement he gave to ICC. Mr. Youash is the Project Director of the Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project.

Iraqi Christians have been targets of attacks by Islamic fundamentalists, criminal gangs and other armed groups who are bent on driving the Christians out of the country. Hundreds of Iraqi Christians have been murdered due to their faith, and half of an estimated 1.2 million Christians have left their homes since 2003.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and the Middle East, Jonathan Racho, said, “The construction of trenches to protect Iraqi Christians is a welcome development, but is not a sufficient measure. Iraqi officials must also bring the perpetrators of attacks against Christians to justice and seek a lasting solution to the plight of the suffering Christians in Iraq.”