Christians of Iraq
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Updated list of Opression and Murders of the Assyrians in Iraq Not reported by the International PressTranslation From English<
Who Are Christians of Iraq?
Most people think of the Middle East as mostly Arab and Moslem but it is not the case. Before the seventh century invasion of the Middle East by Moslem Arabs the predominant population of Mesopotamia (today's Iraq), Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt was none Arab Christians. The growth of Islam in these countries was not due to a sudden influx of Arabs but gradual conversion to Islam by the native population who later were termed Arabs. It was not until the eleventh century when Moslems became a majority in Iraq.
Christians of Iraq trace their ancestry to the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians. They are known by various names such as Assyrians, Chaldeans for those who belong to the Chaldean-Church and Syriacs for the members of the Syrian Orthodox church. There is no specific statistics about the total population of Christians in Iraq but they are estimated to be about one million .During the tolerant period of the Abassid Caliphate (758-1258)
Assyrians scholars of both Nestorian and Jacobite denominations contributed greatly to the advancement of the Islamic civilization by translating the available knowledge form the Syriac and the Greek languages into the Arabic. This ushered an era which is known as the "Golden Age". The first directors of the "House of Wisdom" an institution specifically established by AI-Mamun in 830 AD to translate all the available existing knowledge including, medicine philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and other sciences into the Arabic were Assyrians.
To show the extent of the Assyrian contribution to educating the Arabs it suffices to say that from a hundred Galen's treaties ninety six were translated form the Syriac language the rest directly from the Greek. Many Greek books no longer existed in their native language. Yuhanna ibn Masswaya a physician and teacher was the first director of the House of Wisdom and the president of the first Arab University. He has been credited with having written nearly fifty works. His students were known to be well versed in logic and the writings of Galen. He conducted an assembly in Baghdad on regular basis known as "Majlis" which was a combination of lecture room and consulting hour where he saw patients, lectured his students and discussed scientific topics for the benefit of the general public. One of his most famous students was Hunayn ibn-Isahq who became the second director of the House of the Wisdom.(Arab Civilization to AD 1,500", D. M. Dunlop, New York 1971 p.220)
Hunayn is considered to be the greatest and the most productive translator of all. "According to Ibn-abi-Usahbi'ah he was the author of more than one hundred original works, but few of these are extant". (Whiple 27) He translated twenty books of Galen into Syriac, and fourteen treaties into Arabic. He revised sixteen translations made previously by Sergius of Ras al-'Ayn (Rish-Ayna). The Arab translators such as Khwarizmi, al-Kindi and al-l-Hajjaj, the first translator of Euclid's Elements, received their training from Hunayn, and Thabit beit Qurra.
Translation from the Syriac language to Arabic was so widespread that even the Nestorian Patriarch Timothy who was a good friend of al-Mehdi and his sons Musa, Harun and Ali is known to have translated the 'Topics of Aristotle' first from the Syriac in (782-3) and later retranslating it from the Greek original with the help of the malikite Patriarch.Christian Doctors were famous for their extensive medical skills.
The Medical training and teaching facilities of Jundi Shapour designed, built, and managed by the Assyrian scholars was transferred to Baghdad. The Jundi Shapour Bimarestan became model for hospitals later built in Baghdad, Damascus, Allepo and Cairo. (Whipple 28) The teaching and training of the Physicians was done in the hospital as it is presently the case in the British Medical Schools. Ahamd Eisa gives a list of twelve physicians from Jundi Shapour practicing in Baghdad. (Whipple p.28)
Members of the Bakht-Eisho family served as court doctors for seven generations. The Beit Qarra family of Harran who were still practicing a corrupted form of the ancient Assyro-Babylonian religion contributed greatly to the Arab Knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. The rise of the Arabic as a language of education contributed to the decline of scholarship in the Syriac language.
The arrival of the Crusaders followed by the Mongols inflamed Moslem passions against the none Moslem communities. Because of continued massacres the Assyrians population gradually declined in number but survived mostly in the plain of Nineveh, Southeast Turkey, Mountains north of Mosul, and northwest Iran.
Turkey's world war one massacres resulted in the death of 750,000.During Saddam's wars with the Kurds hundreds of Assyrian villages were destroyed their inhabitants were rendered homeless, driven out of their historic homeland, and scattered as refugees in large cities or the neighboring countries. dozens of ancient churches some dating to the early centuries of Christianity were bombed and turned into rubble. The teaching of the Syriac language was prohibited and Assyrians were forced to give their children Arabic names in an effort to undermine their true identity. Those who wished to hold governmental jobs had to sign ethnicity correction papers which declared them arabs.
The fall of Saddam which was hoped to bring peace to Iraq has unleashed religious violence against the Christian community in Iraq. Unless special attention is given to their plight by the US and the Iraqi government this ancient people will continue to suffer grievously as they have in the past.
Ealool = September
Violence Against Christians Grows in Iraq Sept. 29, 06
Nenveh Essa, 21, studied accounting, Dies in Car Accident Sept. 27, 06
Kurds and Arabs Vie for Control of Mosul Sept. 26, 06
Iraq ensnared in quest to escape Arab politics Sept. 25, 06
Two Assyrian churches attacked in Mosul and Baghdad Sept. 25, 06
Tense Time for Christians in Iraq Sep. 24, 06
Assyrian Police Officer Murdered in Mosul Sept. 24, 06
Muslims react to the speech of Pope Benedict XVI Sept. 20, 06
Iraq: International Religious Freedom Report 2006 Sept. 19, 06
Fear Strikes Iraq's Christians Over Pope Words Sept. 19, 06
Assyrian Cultural Day Sept. 19, 06
When Iraqi Christians Vanish, Locals Pay the Price Sept. 18, 06
Dozens Dead in Kirkuk Bombings Sept. 17, 06
Book Exhibit in Baghdeda Iraq Sept. 17, 06
'I Felt God Was With Me,' Says Released Assyrian Priest' Sept. 15, 06
Two Assyrians Killed in Separate Terrorist Attacks Sept. 15, 06
Two Assyrians Killed in Separate Terrorist Attacks Sept. 14, 06
Kirkuk: The potential spark for civil war Sept. 14, 06
Sabri Atman in Sweden Sept. 14, 06
Assyrian Candidate Gains Republican Endorsement Sept. 13, 06
Priest Kidnapped in Baghdad Released Sept. 12, 06
Rosie Malek - Younan; The Assyrian Woman of the Year Sept. 10, 06
A Feast Awaits At Annual Assyrian Festival Sept. 6, 06
Turkey's terror against Christians in Midyat Sept. 4, 06
Syria; Sanctuary for Iraq's Displaced Christians Sept. 3, 06
August = Tubbakh
Assyrians: from Bebar Khan to Saddam Hussein (a new book) August 28, 06
A New Film by Lina Yakubova August 27, 06
PM Maliki urges tribal unity in Iraq August 27, 06
Iraqi Christians Caught in the Crossfire August 23, 06
Iraqi Christians on Edge After Priest's Kidnapping August 23, 06
The Secrets Of Mustafa Barzani In KGB Archives August 23, 06
Pope urges release of priest in Iraq August 20, 06
Heading Toward an (Inevitable) War in Kirkuk August 20, 06
TWO CHALDEAN PRIESTS KIDNAPPED IN BAGHDAD August 18, 06
Confiscation of the Assyrian villages by the Kurds August 18, 06
The Kurdish Democratic Experiment: an Assyrian Tragedy August 17, 06
Lebanese Bishops Call for Single National Leadership August 16, 06
Lebanese Cardinal Concerned About Christian Exodus August 16, 06
In Turkey non Muslims are listed as Foreigners August 14, 06
Murdered Assyrians in Iraq in August August 14, 06
Why Can't A Christian Be More Like A Muslim? Revisited August 13, 06
Peter W. Galbraith's 'The End of Iraq' August 12, 06
Babylon the Great lives August 12, 06
We Don't Want a Proxy War in Lebanon:' Cardinal Sfeir August 10, 06
Go-ahead for dam that will drown history August 9, 06
750,000 Christians Caught in Middle East Crossfire August 8, 06
Arabist Indoctrination At Middlebury College August 8, 06
Middle-Eastern conference: from worship to ‘reunion’ August 8, 06
Family Pays Ransom in Iraqi Kidnapping August 7, 06
June, July 06