Recently at National Review Online, Nina Shea wrote about the plight of non-Muslims in Iraq--a population that numbers around a million.
The situation of the non-Muslim minorities — largely Christians (Chaldean Catholics, Assyrians, Syriac Orthodox, Armenians, Protestants, and Evangelicals), but also including Yizidis (adherents of an ancient angel religion), Mandeans (followers of John the Baptist), Baha’is, Kaka’i (followers of a syncretistic religion in the Kirkuk area), and Jews — is uniquely dire. Half of them are estimated to have been driven from their homes in the past three years, either to other parts of the country or abroad. The very existence of these non-Muslims within Iraq may soon be extinguished under pervasive persecution that the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees says is targeted against them due to religion.
They have little defense.
Lacking the militias, tribal structures, and foreign champions of Iraq’s other groups, these Christians and other small groups are singularly defenseless. Some Islamist fundamentalists target them out of pure religious intolerance. To the extremist mindset, the non-Muslim religion and culture of the Christians and other small religious minorities identify them as collaborators with the “infidel occupiers.” And, because they do not govern any governmental department, they are at the tender mercies of those dominant groups who aim to take their property, businesses, and villages, and withhold from them American reconstruction aid.
Note: I have provided the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada an article by Nina Shea in which she talks about apostasy in the Islamic world. Her writings are very valuable.