Monday, December 12, 2011

Iraqi Christians taxed for worshipping

Catholic Culture reports, "The Latin Rite archbishop of Baghdad says that some Christians have been reduced to dhimmitude and are being forced to pay the jizya, a special tax that permits them to practice their faith." Independent Catholic News adds, "Mgr Jean Benjamin Sleiman, Latin Archbishop of Baghdad, said that in recent years, some Christians have experienced persecution and today they continue to live in the most dangerous areas such as Baghdad and Mosul. They are considered 'dimmi' (infidels), therefore legally and socially inferior, and even forced to pay the 'jizya', the tax due from the non-Muslim minorities in order to practice their faith." Assyrian International News Agency adds, "The latest attacks of Kurds on Assyrian businesses, cultural centres and houses in Zakho (Northern Iraq) clearly indicate that bomb attacks, robberies and systematic discrimination are still present and force Assyrians to flee their homeland. They are denied their constitutional rights of establishing their own civil society organisations. They are being oppressed and deprived of their equal rights in a systematic way." There will be a protest outside the White House today by supporters of Camp Ashraf. Former FBI director Louis Freeh is supposed to be among those protesting. Maybe supporters of Iraqi Christians should be out protesting as well?

At the end of last week, Joel Gehrke (Washington Examiner) noted:

Thirty-seven House legislators from both sides of the aisle signed a letter to President Obama requesting that he intercede on behalf of persecuted Iraq Christians and other religious minorities in his upcoming meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
"The Iraqi Government needs to understand," wrote Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., on behalf of his colleagues yesterday, "that the protection and preservation of these communities will be a key component of our future bilateral relations and critical to our alliance, given its own centrality to our own basic values."
The legislators -- including Democrats such as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., D-Ill. -- reminded Obama that a 2004 commission found that rapes, beheadings, and bombings of Christians in Iraq often take place. "Too often, attacks of the sort described above are not adequately investigated, prosecuted, or punished, fostering a deadly climate of impunity," they said.

Possibly Iraqi Christians could appeal to Iraqi government officials. Like Hakim al-Zamili? Elizabeth Palmer (CBS Evening News -- link is text and video) reported last week:

Meet Hakim al-Zamili, member of Parliament for the Shi'a stronghold of Sadr City. This morning he's touring local schools and getting an earful from teachers about their lousy pay.
But just four years ago, al-Zamili was a wanted man. At the time, he was Iraq's deputy health minister. The U.S. authorities believed he was using that position to funnel money to the Mahdi Army and to order assassinations.
The Mahdi Army was the feared Shi'a militia that murdered hundreds -- probably thousands -- of Sunnis and Christians in a vicious religious war. Its fighters also attacked U.S. forces.

Meanwhile Chris Adams and Barbara Anderson (Sacremento Bee) reflect on the Iraq and Afghanistna War:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may be winding down, but the long-term costs of caring for those wounded in battle is on path to rival the costs of the Vietnam War.
While Vietnam extracted a far higher death toll -- 58,000 compared with 6,300 so far in the war on terror -- the number of documented disabilities from recent veterans is approaching the size of that earlier conflict, according to a McClatchy Newspapers analysis of Department of Veterans Affairs data.
And in the San Joaquin Valley, 15% of veterans seeking care at the VA hospital and health system in Fresno are from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- the highest percentage of new veterans enrolled at any VA hospital in California.
The disability data, obtained by McClatchy under the Freedom of Information Act and detailing all disability payments to veterans of all wars, show that veterans leaving the military in recent years are filing for and receiving compensation for more injuries than did their fathers and grandfathers.

And for those keeping track, that's one way you reflect on wars -- as opposed to garbage about this hotel or that hotel being there. (That's not garbage if you're a hospitality industry magazine. It is garbage if you're a supposed news outlet.)

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Scrub Buddies" went up last night. On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) -- they explore (with Max Blumenthal) the "Isrealification of American Domestic Security" and with attorney Kristine Dunne, they discuss a class action lawsuit over gender discrimination in the far loan programs. We'll close with this from Jonathan M. Hansen's "Will Guantanamo See Its First Execution?" (World Can't Wait):

On Wednesday, November 9, in the first military tribunal to open on Mr. Obama's watch, Guantanamo officials arraigned Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri for allegedly masterminding the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole that left 17 American sailors dead -- a capital offense.
Al-Nashiri’s commission goes forward in mid-January, which means it coincides with the ten-year anniversary of the detention center itself. Should the Guantanamo commission declare al-Nashiri guilty, the President will find himself in the awkward position of presiding over the first military execution there.
One can only imagine the headlines emblazoned across media around the world: “GUANTANAMO EXECUTION: Obama Puts to Death Detainee U.S. Tortured.”
How in the world has this come to pass?

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