Casey, Levin, Brownback, Martinez Urge Iraqi Govt to Combat Violence against Iraqi Christians

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Washington, DC- In a letter spearheaded by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Mel Martinez (R-FL) today urged Jalal Talabani, President of the Republic of Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, to take all necessary measures to end the violence in the north against Iraqi Christians. According to the United Nations, thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled Mosul in reaction to the increased violence and intimidation.

“This violence is emblematic of a larger pattern of severe persecution by extremists that threatens to deprive Iraq of her non-Muslim citizens. It also highlights the possibility of increased violence ahead of provincial elections,” the Senators wrote.

They went on to write, “We urge your government to take all necessary measures to increase security in the north on behalf of all Iraqis.”

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister:

We write to express grave concern over the recent violence in Mosul that has driven away large numbers of Iraqi Christians. This violence is emblematic of a larger pattern of severe persecution by extremists that threatens to deprive Iraq of her non-Muslim citizens. It also highlights the possibility of increased violence ahead of provincial elections. We urge your government to take all necessary measures to increase security in the north on behalf of all Iraqis.

To this end, we welcomed statements of support from Prime Minister al-Maliki’s office calling for an end to these vicious attacks and committing the Iraqi security forces, particularly the additional security forces sent to Mosul, to protect all Iraqis regardless of sectarian affiliation. These actions send a strong signal to the extremists that they will not succeed in spreading division, hatred, and mistrust among Iraqis.

We also hope the Iraqi Parliament will seriously consider the issue of minority representation in the provincial elections law. We believe Iraq’s leaders can play a critical role in ensuring that the Iraqi government remains a representative body of all of Iraq’s people, including its minorities.

For over one-thousand years, Iraq has been home to people of many faiths who have lived and worshipped side by side, including Shiites, Sunnis, Jews, Yazidis, and Christians. This long and proud tradition has made Iraq a cradle of human civilization. It is a tradition we hope will be restored.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey Jr.
Carl Levin
Sam Brownback
Mel Martinez