One of the tragic outcomes of the Iraq war has been the destruction of the historic Christian community. Saddam was evil, but had no interest in persecuting Christians. Indeed, a Christian woman was far better off living in Iraq than in U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.
Half of the Christians have been forced from their homes, many to Syria, where they fear the consequences if Bashir Assad is ousted. Those remaining in Baghdad are afraid to publicly celebrate Christmas.
CHRISTMAS has gone underground in Baghdad this year with the leaders of one of the world's oldest Christian communities taking the extraordinary step of warning followers that it is too dangerous to openly celebrate Christ's birthday.
"We have told everyone that there should be no public parties or large gatherings and people should do their own celebrations in their homes," said Ra'ad Emmanuel, the head of the government-backed Iraqi Christian Endowment.
Ironically, Islamists blamed Iraqi Christians for American behavior, even though the Bush administration did nothing to help local believers. According to the Australian:
"After Saddam fell, Christians were targeted and attacked because everyone thought we were somehow attached to the Americans but the truth is that the US did not do anything for the Christians," Mr Emmanuel said.
It is yet another tragic and unanticipated consequence of an unnecessary war.
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