Author of Adam and Steve, a novel about reexamining your prejudices

Posts tagged ‘Northern Iraq’

Convert or Face Death!

A modern-day exodus is occurring for the Christians of the Northern Iraqi towns of Mosul and Bakhdida.  “Convert to Islam, leave the city or face death” is the threat reportedly given Christians by Islamic State militants, a faction of Sunni Muslims practicing an extremist and intolerant version of fundamentalist Islam.  Christians are fleeing for their lives, leaving their ancestral homes to seek asylum in Irbil, the capital of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, and in countries throughout the world.  It is said that the Iraqi Christian population once having reached 1 million, may now be no greater than half that size.* After centuries of wreckage caused by hatred and intolerance born from religious fervor occurring in all corners of our globe, we still bear witness to that hatred and intolerance.  We are now no closer to a world safe for people of all religions and faiths than we were in the unenlightened Middle Ages.

What is happening to the Christian population of Iraq is but the more recent horrendous face of religious intolerance.  We need not go far into history to realize that the Crusades and Pogroms of the past are alive and well in the modern era and that religious freedom is still way beyond our grasp.  We have seen:

  • the Muslim slaughter of Hindus  in India and Pakistan;
  • the German slaughter of the Jews based, in part, on the anti-Semitic teachings of Martin Luther;
  • the massacre of Sikhs as a response to Indira Gandhi’s assassination;
  • the Muslim against Muslim human carnage resulting from the Shi’ite-Sunni conflicts;
  •  the Bosnian massacre of Bosnia Muslims in the ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by Bosnian Serbs;
  • the carnage in Sudan between Christian and Animist forces in the south and the Muslim forces in the north, followed by the genocide of black Sudanese Muslims of Darfur inflicted by the Arab Muslims of the north;
  • the Sabra and Shatila slaughter of mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shiites by Lebanese Christians; and
  • the current Islamic State displacement of the Yazidis,

to name just a few.  We have become so immune to the oh so common onslaught of violent religious intolerance that we take in the news and  go about our business believing that violent religious intolerance is someone else’s problem.  Today it is the problem of Iraqi Christians and Yazidis.  As history has proved, no person and no religion are immune.

It is time we honored and respected God’s diverse and wondrous creation. It is time we recognize that God would never require the religious to be violently intolerant of the differences existing in God’s own creation. What will it take to eradicate religious intolerance? God only knows.

*See, http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iraq-christians-20140721-story.html., http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/06/17/whats-happening-to-iraqs-christians-as-islamists-tear-across-the-country/, and http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-northern-iraq-gains-by-islamic-state-threaten-centuries-old-christian-town/2014/07/19/7088f3b6-0f53-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html.

Christians in Qaraqosh, Iraq

Photo courtesy of : http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iraq-christians-20140721-story.html

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Honor Killings – Dishonorable Murders

A 14-year old girl forced to marry a man not of her choosing was allegedly tortured by her in-laws and fled from her husband’s home. Her brother, finding his sister in the home of an old boyfriend, hauled her outside into the daylight. With a butcher knife brought for the occasion, brother decapitated his sister in front of all who happened to be on the street. To explain the horrendous scene the passersby had just witnessed, brother screamed “she had sinned and had to be punished.”  Brother, certain of his righteousness, carried his sister’s head to the police station where he dropped it off with the butcher knife. His parents expressed great pride at their son’s killing of their daughter. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/12/2012121614107670788.html

You might think this story too bazaar and horrific to be true. Unfortunately, it was all too real for 22-year-old Nilofar Bibi who was murdered by her brother in Kolkata, India on December 7, 2012. Sadly, Nilofar’s story is not isolated. One estimate places the figure at over 5,000 females killed in the name of “honor” occurring in the Middle East alone.  http://rt.com/news/honour-killings-middle-east/print/

What could these females have done to bring so much dishonor to their families that their deaths bring joy to their parents? Their acts for the most part are not especially dishonorable. Some females have been raped or have refused to enter into an arranged marriage or, like 17-year old Du’a Khalil Aswad who, on April 7, 2007, was stoned to death by hundreds of men in Northern Iraq, have fallen in love with a Muslim.   http://rt.com/news/honour-killings-middle-east/print/  The reasons mostly involve a female’s decision about her life that’s unacceptable to her family. If, in the eyes of her family, that decision brings dishonor on them, then she runs the risk of punishment by a male vigilante or a posse of them.

“Honor” killings are anything but honorable. They are the work of malicious, vindictive and fanatical men. These men are not avengers, but stone, cold murderers and child killers who should be severely punished. The reality for many women throughout the world is that a murderer who is male is more honored than a female who just wants to be happy. That’s how little her life is worth.

Caste-Council ‘Explains’ Honor Killings, While India Still Reels From Gang-Rape Tragedy

Image courtesy of: http://www.ibtimes.com/caste-council-explains-honor-killings-while-india-still-reels-gang-rape-tragedy-1019686

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