Christians in Iraq

I am embarrassed to say that, until recently, I didn't even know there were Christians living in Iraq.  Okay, that is not quite true.  I knew that there were Christians in Erbil because my husband spent a month or so there several years ago training museum conservators, and I remember his talking about the Christmas displays in some of the shops.  But I never thought much about the fact that there were Christians in what we in America tend to think of as a Muslim country.

Did you?  Do you now?  Have you seen the reports of the massacres?  The crucifixions?  The rapes?  Do you know that Christian houses are being marked with the sign of the Nazarene (ن) as a mark of shame?

What do we do about this, we in the West?  Where are the protests against the genocide?  Where is the outrage?  Some of my friends on Facebook changed their profile pictures to the sign, but that's about it.  Only occasionally have we mentioned the Christians being persecuted throughout the world in the prayers at my church (well, okay, I have mentioned them in the prayers that I have written for us), but no one has preached about them.  Do we not care?  Do we not care that thousands have been murdered in just the past several months?  Do we not care that women have been raped with their husbands watching?  Husbands beheaded as their wives watched?  Do we not care that those who confess that Christ is LORD are now being called upon to convert or die?

I blame Walter Scott, specifically The Talisman.


  1. I just saw your post from September 21st and I'm baffled. After such an honest and heartfelt appeal to finish by blaming Walter Scott. Really? Don't you think that's more than a tad reductive, particularly for an historian? Perhaps the devilish work of Mark Sykes and Georges Francois Picot deserve some consideration and much else.

  2. In the cool light of morning I realize you must have been ironic, facetiously alluding to Twain perhaps. It was the change in tone that caught me off guard.

  3. Yes, you are right to catch the change in tone. I was trying to capture the feeling of disconnect in our lack of attention, but also to pique curiosity--why Walter Scott? I have been having a difficult time recovering my blog voice after the year's break, and was meaning to write another post about Scott. The long answer is in Jonathan Riley-Smith's The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam (2008), where he talks about how Scott's image of Saladin as the courteous nineteenth-century gentleman combined with imperialist use of the crusades to celebrate nineteenth-century European conquests has fed into the narrative that both we in the West and the people attacking Christians in the Middle East use to justify our non-response. Riley-Smith says it better than I can here.

  4. Sorry to intrude. My boys love the fencing bears (they fence too) but we have not been able to reach their maker through the email address you list. I would appreciate if you could let me know if there is any other possible way to reach her. Thanks, S.F.

    1. I am sorry, but the only address I have is the one I give on the Adopt-a-Bear page. She tends to come to the national tournaments in California, so she may be at San Jose for Nationals this summer, but I can't recall exactly when I last spoke with her.


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