The Bush Administration and right wing pundits keep praising the great, new democracy in Iraq, yet Iraqi Christians have virtually no representation within the Iraqi Parliament or military and it's doubtful the Shiite-led government will ever allow it to happen. The U.S. has a dismal record on dealing with the millions of refugees crossing over into neighboring countries and shamefully, America has all but closed the door on Iraqis of all faiths.
Despite the chaos and sectarian violence raging across Baghdad, Farouq Mansour felt relatively safe as a Christian living in a multiethnic neighborhood in the capital.
Mansour, a 63-year-old retiree, said that while many other Christians left, he chose to stay in his Amariyah neighborhood in western Baghdad. He was hoping that the Baghdad security plan, which U.S.-led forces launched on Feb. 14, would improve the situation.
"But the opposite happened," he said.
Mansour was kidnapped March 11 by gunmen who identified themselves as al Qaeda. After 15 days in captivity, his family paid the ransom and fled the country, leaving their home and electric appliance store behind, Mansour said in a telephone interview from Syria.
In Saddam-era Iraq, the country's 800,000 Christians — many of them Chaldean-Assyrians and Armenians, with small numbers of Roman Catholics — were generally left alone. Many, such as Saddam Hussein's foreign minister and deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, reached the highest levels of power. Read more...