Proud Assyrian


Christians Battle for Representation As Iraq's Election Draws Near

  Washington -- International Christian Concern (ICC) is urging Iraqi Christians to vote in Iraq's upcoming general election on March 7, amidst the recent surge of Islamic violence targeting them.

Last week, Islamic militants murdered five Iraqi Christians in an effort to discourage Christians from voting in Iraq's election. The killings occurred in isolated incidents in and around the northern city of Mosul. Local Christian leaders accussed Iraqi security forces of failing to protect the Christian community.

Overwhelmed by the attacks, some Christians are less concerned about their right to vote, and more worried about their personal safety. "We don't want elections, we don't want representatives, we don't want our rights, we just want to be alive," said Baasil Abdul Noor, a priest at Mar Behnam church near Mosul.

However, Juliana Taimoorazy, President of Iraqi Christian Relief Council, told ICC that Iraqi Christians must remain strong and protect their rights. "Since the fall of Saddam, we have had one legislative member representing the Iraqi minority in Parliament. This is our chance to secure seats, but in order to do that, we must vote," she said. "We are indigenous people of the land, this is our homeland, and we have rights just like any Muslim. I encourage Iraqi Christians throughout the world to partake in these historic elections."

    In an interview with ICC, an Iraqi Parliament member and the Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, Yonadam Kanna, told ICC that, "There are five seats for Christians in the Parliament guaranteed. There is potential for more than five if enough votes come in. Every vote is priceless during these elections."

Kanna also said that he is thankful to those Americans who have given their lives for Iraqi democracy. Campaigning before the Assyrian Christian community in Chicago, Kanna said, "It is our obligation to participate in the current election process to demonstrate our appreciation and to show that American blood did not go in vain."

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, "If Iraqi Christians do not vote in the general election, then minority rights will not be fully recognized, and the survival of Christianity in Iraq will be dictated and confined by radical sectarianism. Iraqi Christians must fight back and demonstrate courage by casting their vote on March 7. Voting is the first step to equal rights for the Iraqi minority. Without the Christian vote, Iraq will not change, and Christian blood will continue to be spilled."


































































































































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