The First March Against the Ethnic Cleansing of Iraq's Indigenous Christians
The First March Against the Ethnic Cleansing of Iraq’s Indigenous Christians Seeks to Address Recent Massacre of Iraqi Christians
The Christians of Iraq are requesting special protection against religious persecution from fundamentalist terrorist groups who seek to harm, harass, threaten and persecute the Christian minority of Iraq
NEW YORK, NY, November 15, 2010 – Worldwide Christians have joined forces to organize rallies on Monday calling on the American and Iraqi governments to protect Iraqi Christians.
Dubbed “The Black March” because protesters wore all black, the NYC rally started at 11 a.m. outside of the United Nations. Thousands of Facebook members had said they plan to attend similar rallies in other cities.
Organizer Julianne Barsoum Jabaly said they’ve reached out to people of all faiths, including Jews, Muslims and other Christian groups, including Syriac Orthodox who have common roots in ancient Mesopotamia, to stand in solidarity with the victims of an Oct. 31 attack on a Syrian Catholic Church in Baghdad.
After Christine Ghazool heard about the killing of more than 50 Iraqi Christians in Baghdad last week, she knew she couldn’t sit idly by.
“It just hit home,” said the Iraqi born Christian who fled her country several years ago and came to America for religious freedom.
The goal of The Black March was to bring awareness of the suffering of the indigenous Christians of Iraq and secure their protection. The peaceful gathering honored the lives of those lost in Baghdad and aimed to prevent another brutal massacre of Christians in the Middle East. As each name was read, an individual wearing a white t-shirt splattered with blood stains fell to the ground to symbolize the martyrs.
“We are appealing to the United States and Iraqi government to pass legislation that will protect the Iraqi Christians,” cried out Jabaly. “We’re going through a silent genocide."
His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim began the rally with prayers in Syriac. The peaceful demonstration was a huge success with nearly 400 attendees from various religions and ethnicities.