|7/25/2007: Threats to Iraq's Communities of Antiquity: Hearing Agenda|
July 25, 2007
The grave, life-threatening conditions faced by Iraq's minority religious communities have not been fully aired in Washington, much less the national media. Representatives from these communities have been requesting such an opportunity. Likewise, the Iraq Study Group encouraged the Commission to bring out more information on the status of these communities. This hearing aims to tell their stories. It is the first of its kind.
What is more, U.S. refugee policy on Iraq is currently under debate both in the Administration and in the Congress. One key issue in that debate is whether or not the non-Muslim minorities face particularized persecution in Iraq such that they should have greater access to the U.S. Refugee Program. The testimony at this hearing will help stress the importance of enhancing U.S. assistance to Iraqi refugees, a disproportionate number of which come from vulnerable minority religious communities.
9:00 Opening Remarks
Mr. Michael Cromartie
Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
9:15 Panel I: Religious Freedom in Contemporary Iraq
The Reverend Canon Andrew White
President & CEO, Foundation for Reconciliation & Reconstruction in the Middle East and Vicar of St. George's Anglican Church, Baghdad
10:00 Panel II: The Persecution of Iraq's Communities of Antiquity
Ms. Pasqual Warda
Former Iraq Minister of Migration & Displacement and President, Assyrian Women's Union
Dr. Donny George
Former chairman of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and former director of the Iraqi National Museum
Mr. Michael Youash
Project Director, The Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project
Dr. Suhaib Nashi
General Secretary, The Mandaean Associations Union.