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Faith under fire: Christians in Iraq

The last of the American troops have left Iraq, just in time for Christmas. And with an eye toward next year’s election, President Obama is already touting this achievement. Of course, the debate has resumed about just what the United States accomplished there. Was the overthrow of Saddam Hussein worth the loss of almost 4,500 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives?

On this Christmas weekend, we focus on another aspect of the story: just what Saddam’s ouster has meant for Christians in that country. Since 2003, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled after a series of attacks by Muslim militants. It’s been reported that as many as 54 churches in Iraq have been bombed. And in some areas, it has been too risky to celebrate Christmas openly. Correspondent Martin Himel recently visited Baghdad. But our story starts in Canada. It contains graphic images.

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.


  • Sammy Alzofon

    On this Christmas morning I sit watching your piece on Christians in the Middle East. I am surprised that moderator Ray Suarez did not at least mention (1) the large community of Arab and non-Arab Christians in Israel, and their status as equal citizens in a democracy, NOT living as dhimmis, a permanent second, or less, class status, as in Egypt, and (2) that correspondent Anthony Shadid, while pointing out the now-extinct Jewish communities in the Middle East, did not point out that Israel took in hundreds of thousands of these Jews. as they fled Iran, Egypt, their households persecuted and belongings confiscated. A passing reference to the only democracy in the Middle East is always appreciated and introduces balance into reports of the chaos in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the withdrawal of the United States from Iraq.

  • Christopher X. O’Connor

    Dear Mr. Suarez,  Thank you very much for daring to report on the persecution of Christians by Moslems in the Middle East.  This has been one of the most under-reported issues of the last 10-15 years, even though the persecution keeps getting worse.  Unfortunately, I suspect that a lot of peope, at least in New Mexico, might not have caught the presentation.  Here the PBS station broadcasts “Need To Know” at 2 AM on Sunday mornings.  I guess the subject is too politically incorrect for prime time viewing.  But SOMEBODY has to defend these people! The U.S. government doesn’t seem to be defending them.
     – Chris O’Connor, Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • Lindsay Manahan

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  • Observer

    Arab Christians were denied access to Bethlehem by Israeli troops just because they were Arabs while Christians of other nationalities were waved thru unimpeded. I would hardly call that as “being of equal status”.

  • Craig

    Mission accomplished eh?

  • Raymond Wallace

    They probably didn’t report on it because it’s tediously unimportant.  A bunch of beliefies harassing a different type of beliefy.  It’s not a new story…it’s the single oldest story in the history of time.  The real issue is how we need to wipe out these warring brain-viruses completely.