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 Minorities reserve equal rights in Kurdistan (Part 3)

 Analysis - Opinion  
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Minorities reserve equal rights in Kurdistan (Part 3)  29.3.2010  
By Baqi Barzani, a longtime contributing writer for  

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March 29, 2010

In response to an article entitled “The Plight of Christians in Iraq” edited by Eden Naby, the Project Director of Immigration and Adjustment, Peter W. Galbraith, a well-respected academic, a noted policy advisor and a US diplomat retorts as follows:

[6] “Since the creation of a de facto independent Kurdistan in 1992, the Kurdistan government has taken steps to encourage the reconstruction of Christian villages, and has helped finance the rebuilding of churches. Today, the Kurdistan government provides free land for building churches (a benefit not available for the construction of mosques) and is providing financial assistance to encourage Christians now living in Baghdad and Mosul to return to Kurdistan. These programs are managed by Kurdistan's finance minister, who is a Christian”.

“Persecution is not the only factor in the decline of Kurdistan's Christian population. Christians had more opportunities than Muslims to emigrate to the West, including the United States. Kurds have taken over many abandoned (or emptied) Christian villages, and there are enduring land disputes that will have to be settled. Of course, Christians were not the only Kurdistan community to suffer under Iraqi rule. Its once-thriving Jewish community has been completely eliminated (interestingly,
www.ekurd.netKurdish Jews in Israel generally have warm feelings toward their former Kurdish homeland, which is not the case for those who came from Arab countries). Iraqi regimes also persecuted Kurdistan's Yezidis, a pre-Islamic religion that considers Satan to be among God's creations”.

“Kurdish leaders are considering giving grants of extensive autonomy to minority communities, including the possibility that they might be able to form their own provinces (or governorates) within Kurdistan in areas where they are a local majority”.

“Elsewhere in Iraq, the plight of minorities, including Christians, is grim. Christians live in disproportionately greater numbers in Baghdad and therefore have been more severely affected during 2006 by the acceleration of Iraq's civil war, which has empowered Sunni and Shiite extremists. The violence and extremism are forcing Christians to leave Arab Iraq, some for Kurdistan but most for Jordan, Syria, and other countries”.

Baqi Barzani is a Kurdish citizen of Sought Kurdistan [Iraq]. He advocates the notion of " establishing an independent Kurdish state". He contributes to various Kurdish media outlets, especially

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