Korean and Assyrian Christians Unite to Cry Out Against the Persecution of Iraqi Christians

Tina Park
Tina Park spoke at the press conference held to discuss the persecution of Iraqi Christians. |

Tina Park
(Photo : Christianity Daily)
Tina Park spoke at the press conference held to discuss the persecution of Iraqi Christians.

The Korean church community in southern California gathered with Assyrian American Christians to stand together against the "Christian Holocaust" that is occurring in Iraq.

As is now widely known, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has been persecuting Christians in a larger scale than ever before in Iraq in the name of "religious cleansing." The international community has been horrified at the extent of the militants' methods of persecution, as they beheaded young children and even displayed their beheaded corpses in public spaces and released videos and photographs of the corpses to the public.

The Assyrian ethnic group is of particular concern not only because of the fact that it is a Christian ethnic group, but also because its population has seen a severe decrease from 1.4 million in 2003 to 200,000 today, as a result of the genocide that has been occurring in the region.

In a press conference held on August 28, approximately 30 Korean church leaders and 20 Assyrian church leaders gathered to discuss the situation in Iraq. Assyrian leaders said that help cannot and will not come from the local or federal government in Iraq, but that the only hope for the end of religious persecution for Iraqi Christians is in the international community.

David Lazar
(Photo : Christianity Daily)
David William Lazar, the president of American Mesopotamian Organization, points out a photo of how the Islamic State marks Christian homes in Iraq and threatens Christian families with death.

Of the attendees was David William Lazar, the president of the American Mesopotamian Organization. He emphasized the role of the international community, saying that awareness of the persecution in Iraq must be disseminated world wide, and that the "UN and other foreign countries must handle this situation together." According to Lazar, currently the most desperate need of Assyrians in Iraq is the protection of their lives and property. As they have already become refugees, their greatest need is commodities for survival and humanitarian aid.

Hyo Woo Park, the president of the Council of Korean Churches in Southern California promised, "We will be praying for and putting in our best efforts to end the persecution of Christians in Iraq."

The individual who bridged this connection between the Korean and Assyrian church communities is Tina Park. Park was the youngest Korean as well as the first female politician to be chosen as the director of the education department at Los Angeles Community College. She expressed thankfulness saying, "The Korean church community was the first to partner with me when I had been asking around for help to support the plight of the Assyrian Christians."

"I plan to develop relationships with and receive detailed information about the persecution in Iraq from the native Iraqis, and disseminate the information to the international community. I intend to ask the UN for help as well to intervene in this situation," she added.

In the Bible, the region of ancient Assyria is often mentioned, and it is the very place in which Jonah had preached repentance and the judgment of God, as Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. The Assyrian people group is also the only one that still uses Aramaic, the language that Jesus had used, and the only one that had maintained its ethnic identity since the end of its kingdom in 612 BC as a result of Babylonian rule.

The Assyrians became a Christian ethnic group as well as part of the first generation of Christians through the evangelism of Apostle Paul. As a result, the Christian identity of this ethnic group runs 2,000 years long. However, the Islamic State has now destroyed all of their Christian property, and 95% of Assyrians are now refugees who fled from Iraq and 5% are facing destruction and persecution.