Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo
IRAQI CHALDEANS, ASSYRIANS, AND SYRIACS
ARE ENTITLED TO THEIR FULL CIVIL RIGHTS
The regional map of the Middle East, particularly Iraq, is in a tragic period of fermentation. It is a matter of fact that Moslems in Iraq are killing Moslems, in a deplorable and protracted cycle of vengeance; but Christians, in Iraq, never killed Moslems; nevertheless, at the present time, Christians are being killed and slaughtered and violated and robbed by some of their Arab Moslem neighbors and compatriots, every day and in every city.
Moreover, historic facts should have imposed a well deserved respect to Christians of Iraq.
a) Ethnically and culturally, the Land of the Twin Rivers was home to the Assyrians and Chaldeans, thousands of years before Arab Moslems conquered Mesopotamia.
b) Religiously, Christianity entered Mesopotamia since its dawn and conquered the hearts of the majority of the inhabitants, six centuries before the Islamic invasion.
c) Despite all the hardship that Christians endured under Moslem rulers in Iraq, they were always and consistently loyal to their country and state.
Nevertheless, the Christians of Iraq, as well as those of other countries of Moslem majority, were and still are consistently treated as second-class citizens. Exceptionally, some qualified Christians may have reached up to a high national prominence, only because of the need of the ruler to their services. At the present time and age, can this situation of civil degradation continue, before the eyes of the civilized world?
If Iraq is to become an Islamic state, or have a Sunni region and a Shiite region with an Islamic constitution, then it is our duty, as civilized society, to appeal to every institution of human conscience in this world, to take a stand and do what it takes to provide justice and secure future for the Christians of Iraq. If the Moslems of Iraq are unwilling to recognize civil equality of rights and duties for their Christian compatriots, then this issue goes beyond the borders of Iraq to the human conscience at large, and international institutions must be called to intervene.
At the present junction of events, this our country of United States bears a special responsibility in that regard, and ought to give serious consideration to this matter, in the following terms:
- Christians of Iraq are entitled, like the other ethnic, cultural, and religious, groupings of Iraq, to an autonomous self-administered region in the Nineveh Plain, their ancestral land, having in it to the present time an actual sizeable population.
- Ancient and ancestral Christian towns and villages, in the Nineveh Plain and in Kurdistan, submitted to a policy of Arabization and Islamization in the past decades, are entitled to be restored to their ethnic, cultural, and religious millennial character, and be given the resources to flourish as such.
- Christian towns and institutions of Iraq should be given a fair portion of the natural wealth of their forefathers’ land.
- United States is requested to recognize the Refugee Status and grant visas, in fair number and an expedited process, to the Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee Iraq in the last few years.
- The American Administration is urged to allocate a fair share of funds from the Economic Reconstruction Aid Program to the help of Christian towns and Institutions of Iraq.