Minority communities vanishing from Iraq

LONDON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Minority communities in post-war Iraq are becoming increasingly marginalized and excluded from public life, a report from a London advocacy group warns.

A report from Minority Rights International concludes that some minority communities in Iraq are at risk of disappearing completely.


"The sad fact that minorities still need to camouflage their identity implies they are often ignored or discriminated in public life," says Louis Climis, vice chairman of the Iraqi Minorities Council.

MRI says that fewer than half of religious minorities in Iraq say they are safe to practice their traditions openly. Since October 2010, the report finds, as many as 4,000 Christian families fled Baghdad.

Iraq has one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

Meanwhile, Muslims were targeted Tuesday during the Shiite holy day of Ashura, a day commemorating the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. At least 20 people were killed during Shiite celebrations in the holy city of Karbala during three bomb blasts.

The attack came less than a month after U.S. forces are scheduled to leave Iraq under the terms of a bilateral security agreement. The New York Times reports the Naqshbandia Order, a militant group known to have ties to the deposed Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein, pledged in an Internet video to attack an U.S. officials who stay behind after the Dec. 31 deadline.


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