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Iraq Christians face bias in school curriculum

After $1 trillion spent and thousands of lost American service members, is anything really changing in Iraq?

Archbishop Louis Raphael Sako, leader of Iraq’s Chaldean ancient Christian community, has asked the Ministry of Education to review offensive statements which exist within the curriculum. A particular point of contention is a section in a fifth grade textbook which says that an unveiled woman is “sick.” Christian women do not wear a head covering and there is concern that teaching this kind of material incites violence towards Christians.

Under Saddam Hussein, Christians and Muslims are generally believed to have coexisted peacefully. With the U.S. drawdown in Iraq over the last few years, Iran’sre militant form of Islam has spread across Iraq to the dismay of its religious minorities.

Iraq’s Christians have suffered massive waves of persecution since the U.S. invasion of 2003 which have led to a significant decrease of population. These waves of persecution correlate to surges of violence in the country. However, daily life is challenging even in times of relative calm. Curriculum content such as this example encourage the ever present harassment and intimidation of Christians which set the foundation upon which the surges of violence builds.

The declared military defeat of ISIS in December 2017 was a pivotal moment for Iraq following 3 years of the militants’ destruction throughout the country. The government struggled to re-form in 2018. Many of those challenges and the consequences of months of a government’s absence continue to be felt. Going forward, there remains much work to do in Iraq for Christians to feel safe in their homes.

–International Christian Concern

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