D063 Supporting Christians in Iraq

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church hereby express its support for the right of all Christians and other persecuted minorities in Iraq to live their life of faith and develop their communities free of persecution, discrimination and violence; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention also hereby commits The Episcopal Church, working in partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, to provide prayers, friendship, and material support as determined by the needs and aspirations of Iraq’s Christians, as an expression of our love and recognition of their religious, cultural, and humanitarian inclusion in the sacred Body of Christ.

Explanation

The Christian communities in Iraq are among the oldest continuous Christian populations in the world, some dating back to the 1st century BCE reputedly resulting from the mission of St. Thomas.
-- The historic Christian communities in Iraq are the last on earth speaking and worshipping in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
-- Historically the Christians in Iraq have periodically been subject to persecutions, massacres and cultural and political discrimination going back centuries.
-- These persecutions reached catastrophic proportions with the rise of Daesh (ISIS) following the U.S. led invasion of 2003. This culminated in 2014 with approximately 120,000 Christians primarily from the capital Baghdad and the Nineveh Plains fleeing into the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan for safety. On March 7, 2016 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared Daesh guilty of genocide against religious minorities in Iraq, following the U.S. Congress unanimously passing a non-binding resolution condemning Daesh atrocities as genocide.
--In 2017/18 Daesh was militarily driven out of Iraq, opening the possibility of Christians returning to their historic homelands to rebuild their communities, churches and cultural and commercial lives.


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