Religious freedom commission: Iraqi government tolerates persecution of Christians

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom yesterday denounced “ongoing severe abuses of religious freedom” in Iraq. “Based on the Iraqi government’s toleration of these abuses as described in this report,” the commission added, “particularly abuses against all of Iraq’s most vulnerable and smallest religious minorities, the Commission recommends that Iraq should be designated a ‘country of particular concern’ (CPC).”

The commission’s 2008 report documents numerous incidents of persecution of religious minorities, including Christians. “In 2003, there were estimated to be as many as 1.4 million Christians in Iraq, including Chaldean Catholics, Assyrian Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Syriac Orthodox, Armenians (Catholic and Orthodox), Protestants, and Evangelicals. Today, it is thought that only 500,000 to 700,000 indigenous Christians remain in the country.”