Commentary: Christians Targeted in Iraq!

Massacre in Baghdad: Children 6 and 16 Killed at Home!

By Ken Joseph Jr.

Baghdad, Iraq - Two Assyrian Christian children have been killed in Baghdad. Raneed Raad 16 and her sister Raphid 6 were slaughtered in their home.

 The family who are well known Assyrian Christians had been threatened. While the family was out terrorists entered and shot the two Children at point blank range.

 `We are doing our best to get out to the world the simple message that the Assyrian Christians who are the indigenous people of Iraq are being intimidated, threatened and killed simply because they are Christians. The world must not stand by and watch. The last time this happened during the Assyrian Genocide nearly 2/3rds of our population were killed` says Amir George from Baghdad.

 `We appeal to the world to help us at this critical time so that we can attain autonomy in our homeland as guaranteed in article 53 of the new Iraqi Constitution as the only way to for us to survive. We urgently need help in moving back to our villages from where we were forcibly uprooted by Saddam.` he continues.

 The European Union in a recent report concluded that aid and infrastructure assistance was not getting to the Assyrian Christian community in Iraq in spite of massive amounts of support being distributed throughout the country.

 MEP Albert Jan Maat believes elements of `religious favoritism` as the reason for help not getting to the Assyrian community in Iraq. `International. aid is mainly distributed through regional and therefore moslem leaders and seldom or never reaches the Assyrians.` he said.

 As reports of Assyrian Christians leaving Iraq in desperation increase,  efforts are underway by various organizations to try and stem the tide including an Assyrian Security Network to help provide Security to this most vulnerable community. The Assyrian Assistance Center is working with the authorities on getting funding and implementation for the project which will provide a 24 hour hotline for the Assyrian Christians of Iraq to encourage them to stay and to return to their villages.

 `It is our prayer that cases like Raneed and Raphid will be able to be prevented if we can get the ASN online. This will allow us to mobilize help from within our own community in conjunction with local authorities when there is danger. We feel this will greatly encourage the Assyrian Christians to stay in Iraq and those living overseas to return.` commented Assyrian Assistance Center staff member Gewargis Odishu.

 Prime Minister Alawi of Iraq through his official spokesman encouraged the community to stay in Iraq and those living overseas to return. `The Assyrians are Iraq`s original people. We will do all we can to help them and let them know that as all Iraqis they have a future in the new Iraq.` he said.

 The community is calling on the US and EU help for their security needs, for assistance in resettling the estimated 100,000 who were forcibly taken from their homes during Saddam Husseins time and for autonomy in their homeland.

Rev. Ken Joseph Jr. directos and reports from Baghdad

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