Tuesday November 9
Iraqi Christians in 14 different cities around the world protested on Monday against what they say is lack of response from western governments and media following the murder of Christians in Baghdad on 31 October. Activists used online social communities to organise the protests in less than a week.
The London organiser, Max Joseph, said he was pleased with the crowd, which he estimated at 200 people collected outside of Westminster, despite challenges of time limits. “I basically gave the police four days notice, by law I have to give them two weeks roughly, so I really convinced them over the phone. I had to make a compromise but in terms of turn out this is fantastic.”
Joseph and a friend in Detroit started the project when they and their fellow Iraqi Christians were disappointed by the media coverage of “Black Sunday” when Iraqi Christians were targeted at a Cathedral in Baghdad because of their faith. 58 died and another 78 were wounded by an Al Qaeda linked group. This is part of a bigger problem of what Joseph calls a “genocide of Iraqi Christians.”
Joseph set up a website dedicated to the protests called “Black March” that took place in cities from The United States to Australia. He said in less than a week it went viral. The website announced the 12 noon meeting time and place for the protests in each of the 14 cities.
They started a Facebook event page which had 3,998 invitees confirmed to attend the various marches around the globe. Joseph also exploited Twitter to communicate with Iraqi Christians worldwide with the hashtag “#blackmarch.”
Iraqi Christians have fled their home out of fear of persecution from Islamist and Kurdish attacks. Joseph says “With the state of immigration in the world we have nowhere to go. It’s been eight months since the elections and nothing has changed. We want the Iraqi government to do so much more than it’s doing right now.”
Joseph says this is only the beginning of the Iraqi Christians’ stand against religious discrimination. “We want the media to start informing people about the genocide. Sunday should have been treated as a disaster by the media and it wasn’t. They were very silent”
Joseph plans to go to the EU parliament on 29 November to discuss the issue with EU Commissioners.