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 Assyrian Christians Wary of Iraq's New Government

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Iraq's new government is taking shape. With the June 30th hand-over of power just weeks away, the Iraqi Governing Council named an interim prime minister, a president, and a cabinet. The new president, Ghazi Al-Yawer is a Muslim, as is prime minister Iyad Allawi.

The Council named only one Christian to the 36-member cabinet. Leaving members of the 1 million strong Assyrian Christian Community feeling overlooked.

The Christians also object that a Muslim imam preached a sermon and said a prayer at the ceremony. But leaders from Iraq's centuries-old Christian community were not even invited.

Spokesman for the Christian Community, Ken Joseph, says those actions are troubling.

Joseph said, "This is critical because the whole world, especially the whole nation, and the whole Middle East is watching-how will this new system begin.

He added, "And the opening of the whole program was a Muslim mullah, in his white outfit, got up in front and read a portion of the Koran and gave a whole long sermon on the Koran and then opens it in prayer. And then the program begins. I mean this was the exact wrong message to send to a country that's just struggled out of one totalitarian regime and sits next to another totalitarian regime that does precisely that - Iran."

Assyrian Christians are urging fellow Christian believers in the U.S. to speak out on their behalf.

They're asking Christians to support an effort to amend an appropriations bill-money from the US for Iraq-that's currently in the US Congress. They say the bill should demand that the new Iraqi government protect Christians in all of Iraq.


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 2004/6/10 10:43Profile





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