|The image shown here, taken from a video posted online, is purported to |
show attacks on businesses in northern Iraq following a sermon Dec. 2.
The authenticity of the video could not be verified.
The Mullahs of Northern Iraq Would Like To Take This Opportunity To Wish All Christians "Festive Felicitations For The Slaughtering Season And To All A Very Dhimmi New Year!"
A rash of attacks on Christian-owned businesses in northern Iraq has raised troubling questions about the future safety of the country's shrinking Christian community, particularly as U.S. forces withdraw completely from the nation they've refereed since 2003.
The attacks, which have received little international attention, raged through northern cities following a sermon last Friday by a local mullah. Video purportedly from the riots posted online shows mobs burning and wrecking businesses, which included liquor stores, hotels and hair salons.
"The extremists prepared themselves to attack on more locations ... but they were prevented by local police and security in addition to some guards from the villages," Kanna said in an email.
The incident underscored the perilous circumstance the country's dwindling Christian population finds itself in, as U.S. forces withdraw and the surrounding region takes what could be an Islamist turn, if early results in the Egypt elections are any gauge.
"The Iraqi Christians ... are living in fear," said U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who is pushing for the creation of a special religious freedom envoy in the region. "Now with the forces leaving ... I think the Iraqi Christians are going to go through a very, very difficult time."