Cultural Revolutions

Paying the Price

Iraqi Christians are paying the price of the Bush administration’s desire to remove Saddam Hussein.  The Iranian Revolution and the rising influence of militant Islam have already forced the secular Iraqi dictatorship to make concessions to proponents of Iraq’s Islamicization, but the threat of a U.S. attack, together with a widespread feeling in the Arab and Muslim world that Washington’s “War on Terror” is, in fact, a war on Islam, have prompted Saddam to play the Islamic card in an attempt to shore up support for his regime at home and in the Muslim world.  To that end, the Iraqi regime has recently put the property of Christian churches under the management of its Ministry for Islamic Property; expanded an age-old rule that forces the conversion of Christians married to Muslims to include children from previous Christian marriages, regardless of age or desire; enacted rules making it more difficult to offer Christian religion classes—currently taught in “totalitarian” Iraq in public schools with Christian majorities; and decreed that the non-Arab, non-Muslim parents of newborns must use Arabic and Islamic names for their children.

U.N. economic sanctions have also aided the Islamic revival in Iraq: The hardships of daily life in the embattled country have naturally turned the Iraqis to their traditional religion.  As reported in the Frankfurter Allgemeine,...

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