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Political Asylum for Thousands of Iraqi Christians in Germany?

German conservative interior minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has come out with a bold initiative to provide asylum for thousands of Iraqi Christians forced to leave their homeland in recent years because of religious persecution at the hands of Muslim extremist groups, writes Ulf Gartzke in the The Weekly Standard Blog:

According to the Schaeuble plan, which is backed by the interior ministers of the 16 German states, Iraqi Christians would be allowed to stay in Germany until conditions on the ground in Iraq have improved to the point where they can return home. While the Interior Ministry has not officially come out with any concrete refugees quotas, Berlin insiders believe that Germany could end up accepting anywhere between 5,000 and 7,000 Iraqi Christians per year.

Related post in the Atlantic Review: Small Town in Sweden Accepted More Iraqi Refugees than the Entire United States

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Joe Noory on :

Funny you should say that. We've seen [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/778135.stm]something like this[/url] before. The only problem was that they asylum seekers who were running for their very lives were permitted [url=http://hrw.org/english/docs/2000/08/07/lebano750.htm]to be chased down[/url] and in one case killed in Germany by a Hizballah "activist".

David on :

1.5 million Iraqi refugees are living in abject poverty in Syria and Jordan. It is morally indefensible to select a subgroup to help on the basis of their faith. All are in desperate need of aid. Of course, the United States bears special responsibility, but has done far to little to help in this humanitarian crisis.

Joe Noory on :

David - Zyme is right. As an Christian immigrant from the near east, it is completly defensable to include them among those in the gun sights. BTW - even while His Holy Royal and Human Rights Worshipping Highness Saddam Hussein was in power by overwhelming acllimation of the happy-happy-people, the Christians were being demonized and targeted by the same people they are today: individual happy-happy-people. I think you know just why it is that you want to show us [url=http://www.dialoginternational.com/dialog_international/2008/04/pope-benedict-x.html]just how much you care[/url] about us now, and probably never heard of us then. Yes. I said 'us'.

David on :

If you are discriminating on the basis of faith, then that is unChristian, and -yes- I"m not one of "you" In general, it would appear that Schaeuble is not finding much support for his proposal. Here is the conservative Die Welt: [url=http://www.welt.de/welt_print/article1917418/Schuble_steht_allein_mit_Initiative_fr_irakische_Christen.html]Schäuble steht allein mit Initiative für irakische Christen[/url]

Joe Noory on :

The Jihad, by nature, targets on the basis of faith. If you have time, watch [url=http://clients.tcvmedia.com/actfor/persecution.wmv]this[/url] to understand. If people are [url=http://www.americancongressfortruth.com/]persecuted because of their faith[/url], it is no different than persecution for any other feature of their conscience or birth. It isn't less meaningful than anything else or scary because a critic taking your position is likely uncomfortable with the subject and is quite frequently unfamiliar with religion.

David on :

"unfamiliar with religion." In my Sunday School Class I cover Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. I suggest you (re)read it and rethink what it means to be a Christian.

Pat Patterson on :

I wasn't aware that the Samaritan also invited the victim to move in with him? Rather than simply takng the poor man to Jericho and then paying the innkeepeer to look after him.

Joe Noory on :

I wasn't referring to you specifically, and your belief system and actions are none of my business. I'm thinking of the dozens upon dozens of times that I've read in the european press, particularly the BBC of copy writers who can't tell the difference between a sect, a demonimation, and a religion. Moreover, they rarely can grasp that to a Catholic, anything political that the pope is said to alludes to is ancillary to his role in the faith. As for the "kind" of refugees we're talking about, I'd suugest that in principal that you're right, it shouldn't fall strictly on sectarian lines UNLESS a lot of some group of people lumped into a sectarian category are actually being targetted. Which they are. The discrimination *should* be that group called "people in immediate and visible personal danger". You might be interested to know that Iraq was once a broadly pluralistic society where a third of the population was Christian or Jewish. Then Baathism and Arab Nationalism came a long. They were both nativist, anti-minority movements aligned with the Soviet Union but strangely in love with the formative social structure with National Socialism. First the Jews were pressured and scared out, and then the Christians fled in large numbers. That began soon after they were free of the British governors and later putched their king. There is a rather similar story in most of the Arab world from Morocco to the gulf, and it's why Arabs in the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia were until recently almost entirely Christian, Jewish, and Druze. In the past three decades when the brutish treatment was extended to larger parts of the population in Arab countries, it came to include Muslims who had the chance to leave by virtue of education or work opportunity. If these aren't signs of a society rending itself apart for it's own reasons and harming others with it in spite of anything the always-blamable outside world can do, I don't know what is.

Joe Noory on :

It's obvious from teh article that he just doesn't want the floodgates open. The fact that he's conservative doesn't mean another conservative will automatically agree with them. Conservatives are human, not the Stepford children you likely think we are. By the way, what I meant by that "we" was in reference to Arab Christians. So how do you feel about Tibetan? They're a culture, generally of the same religion, which would cancel that out. Or can they get asylum based on the 'hipness' of their cause? The people ignored by everyone other than American church afilliated charities in Southern Sudan were mainly Christians and Animists. Or is the rule of thumb that Richard Gere has to be out there stumping for you?

Zyme on :

That depends on the kind of refugees. Should the Christian minority traditionally be comparatively well educated and have influential positions in Iraq, helping them would be worth the effort, as they would be Europe´s best ambassadors once they return. If they weren´t comparatively influential though, this entire proposal would be a complete joke. As I consider Schaeuble to be a quite analytical and strategical politician, I assume the opposite. In that case it also makes sense to limit the refugees to a small minority that is bound to Europe by traditional religious relations. This way, the influx is clearly limited. Allowing all Iraqis to enter would not make sense, after the EU has fought so hard for years to keep out new refugees and get rid of the remaining ones.

Omar on :

In my opinion it's totally wrong to think that Iraqi Christians are suffering more than their muslim neighbours in Iraq. If anybody read the book "Warum tötest du, Zaid?" by Jürgen Todenhöfer [1] they would know that Christians are living and - by chance - battling alongside their neighbours. I don't have hope that people like Schäuble would see the great gap in their logic, but i was hoping that the German (and by extension European) society would be much smarter than falling for this racist talk. [1]: http://www.warumtoetestduzaid.de/en/

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Christians in Iraq are one of the smallest minorities and therefore much more vulnerable than Shiites or Sunnis or Kurds etc. Muslim refugees might have a chance to return to Iraq in a few years, but this likelihood is smaller for the Christian Iraqis because of the changes in Iraqi society, in particular less secularism. Do you disagree? Got a better source than Todenhöfer?

Omar on :

I'm sorry Joerg, the size of a community doesn't seem to be the appropiate measure to define a special case. Normally Asylum has been defined for those who have been political refugees. Theoretically these were people who were oppressed by their leaders. Most of the asylum seekers however were driven out of their lands by war or other disasters. Iraq has been a disaster for at least 15 years now. This applies to any Iraqi, whether he be Muslim, Christian, Jew or any other or no denomination. We haven't felt with all the Iraqis who died as an effect to the sanctions in the 90s, we didn't think it's worth sanctioning both invaders, when they invaded iraq in 2003 and bombed 'the hell out of Iraqis'. We still don't feel with the impoverished and displaced Iraqis. We still don't know about the Iraqi losses - be they human losses (the word is yack, i know) or material losses. But when it comes to Christians, there seems to be movement. How bigot is that? To be perfectly clear: I don't have a problem with rescueing Christians (duh!). But the discussion that is been lead by now has nothing to do with reality: We are talking about a possible civil war (at which possible end we assume, the muslim fractions would inevitably kill the christian Iraqis), but nobody seems to care for the occupation that is actually still going on.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Omar, [i]"We are talking about a possible civil war (at which possible end we assume, the muslim fractions would inevitably kill the christian Iraqis), but nobody seems to care for the occupation that is actually still going on."[/i] I think ending the occupation would increase the likelihood of the killing of more Christians in that civil war. Just wondering: Do you agree with me that Iraq is less secular now than under Saddam and therefore Christians, but also Muslim women have less freedom? Do you have hope that Iraq will be once again a quite secular country, where it will be safe for Christians?

Omar on :

Joerg, of course different political groups (mainly defining themselves over religion) are trying to get to the power. And some of those groups are rather fascists and think they could impose their brand of an "ideal state" on the others. But as of any other state, the Iraqis will have to and will fight this fight on their own. As long as we don't help a dictator like Saddam or the Shah or Mubarak there's hope, they would topple such a guy or such a group on their own. Iraq being more or less secular has - in my opinion - nothing to do with the Iraqis there being more free or more liberal. Religion can serve as a framework and as long as the majority likes it to play a bigger role, it should. And that should note mean degrading or otherwise undermining religious minorities. Take for example the law on incest: In Germany the law is not based in any way on rational or secular thinking. On the other hand in Germany the religious (chrisitian) reference in the Basic Law is being more and more understood as a reference to Germany as explicit Chrisitian country. In the US the same discussion (but on another level) is being held. That has implications on the even handling of rights of religious minorities like allowing Christians nuns to lecture at schools paid for by the state whereas muslim women dressing up as they would normally are not allowed. Just wondering: Do you agree with me that Iraq is less secular now than under Saddam and therefore Christians, but also Muslim women have less freedom? Do you have hope that Iraq will be once again a quite secular country, where it will be safe for Christians? I agree, that Iraq would be less secular, but that doesn't necessate lesser freedoms or a crackdown on female or Chrisitan freedoms. Iraqis are not dumb and they are able to achieve _a_ brand of justice without us. The thought, that we should secure the freedom of Iraqis from each other is just like telling "Bimbo" how to eat with fork and knife, if you know what I mean.

Joe Noory on :

One of my buddies in Baghdad had two associates who was murdered, an Iraqi Chirstian, who had a note stuck to him alluding to why it was that the "cross worshipers" stuck to him. ("Cross worshiper" a term used by the most sever adherents to the jihad, to imply that christians are idol worshipping). They were a middle aged husband and wife. It happened ourside of the IZ.

Omar on :

I'm sorry to hear that. I was sent some photos at the beginning of the Iraq war of US tanks having Christian crosses hanging demonstratively from their guns in Iraq. Some US and German (christian) commentators commenting about the Iraq war went beyond calling for the slaughter of muslims (mainly described as towel-heads, who "rise their bottoms when praying" . think of Coulter et al). We are lost, if we fall for the doings of those relatively small groups. In Iraq, every day somebody is dying. They should count the same, regardless of their religion. Isn't that common sense?

Joe Noory on :

I would think that you are either lie-ing or they were photoshopped, because not only is the practice is so thoroughly forbidden in the military, the 'dos and don'ts' that they went through in Iraq exceeded any politically correct wet dream anyone could cook up: always take sunglasses off when talking to people, never dispaly any religious jewelery over your shirt, whenever possible if there are a group of soldiers in contact with people, whoever talks to Iraqis doesn't carry a weapon... etc., etc. So I'm sorry. I just don't buy it one bit. These soldiers are given strict rules and are severly repromanded for violating them.

Pat Patterson on :

Most tankers just like to blow things up or drive over them. It's highly doubtful that many would take the time to adorn bits of reliquary on the barrels of the Abrams 120mm smooth bores. I agree with Joe but would offer a solution in simply scanning the photos and posting them on Flickr or any of the other photo sharing sites. This charge is to incindeary to argue about unless actual evidence is provided. And if this did occur the offending tankers should be idetified and punished for disobeying orders from their superiors and ignoring Pres. Bush's repeated statements that America was not going to start a war between religions. Plus the charge that some commentators were calling for the slaughter of Muslims is simply inexplicable. It's certainly possible, just like Saddam's exhortations to kill the Christian invaders, but without proof simply will serve to diminish the trustworthiness of the person making the claim.

Said Faisal Hassan AL-Sultany on :

Iraqi political man appeal in Russia Ihab Salim- independent journalist-Sweden-Report-9/8/2008: Said Faisal Hassan AL-Sultany,56 years,a former Iraqi political man who worked Treasurer in the former Presidential Office within the Republican Palace,he got the book value the efforts No. 2995 in 1987 by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein,AL-Sultany decided to submit his resignation from his post within the book No.5162 in 1993. After suffering a difficult in Iraq,AL-Sultany decided go to Russia in 1994 requesting asylum because that Iraq was going through a tragic situations,but it seems that process took place in the falsification of statements by the Iraqi translator during an interview lawyer according to AL-Sultany said,this led to the rejection of his asylum request by the High Commission for Refugees of the United Nations. AL-Sultany said:I was given twenty filed a complaint to the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees but the High Commission stresses that there is no such complaints on file a request for asylum! AL-Sultany added:Harder than that,they wrote at i am single although I am married and i have children,they live in Russia according to the legal identity papers issued by the United Nations after accepting requests for asylum! AL-Sultanie's family including his brother Colonel corner of the former Iraqi army and his sister working in the former Iraqi Airways and the rest of his family members had left Iraq to other countries after receiving direct threats by militias backed by Iran. AL-Sultany appealed to international organizations to find a quick solution,especially he lived for four years inside his apartment at the expense of his children and friends,he can not to the shopping or go to the hospital official in Russia,he is unable to return to Iraq because of fear of direct targeting by militias backed by Iran,According to AL-Sultany said

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