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Monday, December 13, 2010

Christians fleeing Iraq - and every other Arab country. NYT not sure why.

From the NYT:
A new wave of Iraqi Christians has fled to northern Iraq or abroad amid a campaign of violence against them and growing fear that the country’s security forces are unable or, more ominously, unwilling to protect them.

The flight — involving thousands of residents from Baghdad and Mosul, in particular — followed an Oct. 31 siege at a church in Baghdad that killed 51 worshipers and 2 priests and a subsequent series of bombings and assassinations singling out Christians. This new exodus, which is not the first, highlights the continuing displacement of Iraqis despite improved security over all and the near-resolution of the political impasse that gripped the country after elections in March.

It threatens to reduce further what Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East called “a community whose roots were in Iraq even before Christ.”

Those who fled the latest violence — many of them in a panicked rush, with only the possessions they could pack in cars — warned that the new violence presages the demise of the faith in Iraq. Several evoked the mass departure of Iraq’s Jews after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

It’s exactly what happened to the Jews,” said Nassir Sharhoom, 47, who fled last month to the Kurdish capital, Erbil, with his family from Dora, a once mixed neighborhood in Baghdad. “They want us all to go.
And who is driving the Christians out? Somehow, the New York Times cannot find a way to pronounce the word. The entire article on religious persecution in Iraq uses the word "Muslim" once, referring to Iraq as "an overwhelmingly Muslim country" but without quite drawing the line between that and the persecutors. It talks about "daily threats" without identifying those making them.

Of course, this is hardly limited to Iraq. The NYT's Ethan Bronner noted last year that
[A] dwindling and threatened Christian population [is] driven to emigration by political violence, lack of economic opportunity and the rise of radical Islam. A region that a century ago was 20 percent Christian is about 5 percent today and dropping.
Even though he mentions "radical Islam" he is also reluctant to explicitly state that Muslim threats against Christians are driving them out, instead primarily blaming the economy and other factors.

But wouldn't the economy be equally bad for Muslims as well?

In fact, the only Middle Eastern country whose Christian population is increasing is Israel. This CAMERA report last year goes into detail on this phenomenon.

So why is the New York Times so reluctant to identify the persecutors of Christians? Why is it silent on the threats, verbal and sexual assaults, and land confiscation by Muslims against Christians?

(h/t MW)