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Iraq's forgotten conflict - kirk yacoub - 07-04-2010 09:05 AM

Did anyone hear the BBC Radio4 programme about the persecution of religious minorities in Iraq broadcast on Tuesday6th April? I was disappointed that Orthodoxy was not even mentioned and have written an email to the BBC's feedback. Surely an interview with the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch HH Ignatios Zakka I Iwas, himself an Iraqi, would have been more instructive than the one held with the Archbishop of Canterbury!!
Kirk Yacoub


- John Charmley - 07-04-2010 10:17 AM

They could have tried Syriac and Coptic Orthodox, but no, the western orientation is the one they go with. No one disputes that all Christians are under attack in that region, but some account of the national churches might, surely, have been in order?

In Christ,

John


- DanielM - 09-04-2010 03:49 PM

Hi Kirk and John

I have just listened to this on BBC I player
(<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rt9rm">http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rt9rm</a><!-- m -->) here is the link for anyone else that wishes to use this to listen.

I completely agree with you on the interviews Kirk, they spoke a lot about the interviews, it does seem extremely focussed on Chaldeans. but in the end, they are the largest Christian group it makes sense to focus on them in the same way that if they travelled to Syria it would be the Syriac church which is the main focus. A mention of the Orthodox would have been nice though.

Did find it amusing that the Chaldeans are Catholic, yet the only mention of anything from Rome was that the Pope is not very supportive of them.
Personally, the mention of the Yazidi was a pleasant surprise, as I know they are forgotten in the world, and are greatly greatly persecuted for their beliefs under stricter regimes simply because of the language they use and how it is misinterpreted.

I would like to see a documentary made about the Copts, or other christian groups in the middle-east and north africa, but from the BBC it would be unlikely as even the petition for no.10 to speak to Egypt concerning the treatment of copts was responded to by a short comment of praise for Egypt's human rights record, so i doubt they would want to offend anyone by bringing the truth to light. *Please excuse my dig at the foreign affairs office*

By the way, when it mentioned that "some believe" Iraq had been a Christian kingdom before the the Islamic conquest, I know the last Sassanid emperor's grandmother was Emperor maurice's Daughter, but did not think any Christian Empire ruled over this area between then and the islamic conquest. Can somebody enlighten me here?


iraq's forgotten conflict - kirk yacoub - 10-04-2010 09:25 AM

The programme in question did focus on the Chaldean Church as well as Anglicans, but no-one listening to the programme who did not already have some knowledge of Iraqi Christianity would still not know who the Chaldeans really are. Since HH Patriarch Athanasios Zaka I Iwas is quite often in contact with the Archbishop of Canterbury, then it should have been much easier for the Archbishop to have given a better appraisal of the situation in Iraq than he did. Though I suspect that HH the Patriarch's views would not be quite so acceptable to the BBC.
The notion that Iraq was a Christian kingdom before Islam is erroneous simply because Iraq as a state was created by the British Foreign Office after the First World War. The religious as well as secular history of an are that was once part of the Persian and then Ottoman empires is a very complex one, but there was nver a Christian kingdom.

Kirk Yacoub