A “huge exodus” is underway from Iraq.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says 30 per cent of the 1.8 million Iraqis who have fled to Jordan, Syria and elsewhere come from the minorities. The Christians, who have lived in Iraq for 2,000 years, survived the Muslim invasion in the 7th century and the Mongol onslaught in the 13th but are now being eradicated as their churches are bombed and members of their faith hunted down and killed along with other minority faiths. [...]
…half of the minority communities in Iraq, once 10 per cent of the total population, have fled. They include Mandaeans, whose main prophet is John the Baptist and Yazidis whose religion is an offshoot of Zoroastrianism and may be 4,000 years old. [...]
The so-called Faili, or Shia Kurds, who were stripped of their belongings under the old regime and expelled to Iran are now being forced to run again – forced out of Shia areas such as Sadr City because they are Kurds and Sunni cities such as Baquba, because they are Shia.
The small Jewish community, whose members arrived in chains as slaves, has been all but destroyed by persecution and the pervasive suspicion that Jews have collaborated with the US-led invaders. [...]
Christians are frequent targets of kidnappers because they are thought to be rich and to have no militia or tribe to protect them. Mandaeans are traditionally jewellers and goldsmiths and this again makes them attractive targets for abduction. [...]
One of the worst affected minorities is the small, 35,000-strong Palestinian community, many of whom had been in Iraq since 1948. Seen as being under the special protection of Saddam Hussein, they have suffered severely since his fall.
How will those responsible for this humanitarian disaster that has followed the destruction of the Iraqi state atone for what they have done?
The above excerpts are from an item that originally appeared in The Independent on 26 February; my source was The Jews of Lebanon.