The Assyrian Christians in Iraq have become accustomed to violence and persecution. Our community has been under foreign occupation and religious pressure for some 1,800 years. But things became dramatically worse in the wake of the 2003 Iraq war, and escalated in subsequent years.
The event that precipitated the founding of ICRC was the September 24, 2006 Islamist attack on St. Mary’s Cathedral in Baghdad, one of the holiest shrines for many Iraqi Christians, and home of Mar Addai II, Patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East. Two bombs exploded at the church, timed to strike worshipers as they left Sunday services. Two people were killed and some 20 injured.
After this horrific act our founder Juliana Taimoorazy questioned what more could be done by the international community to support Assyrian Christians facing extreme violence in their homeland. In the wake of this appalling attack on one of the centers of Iraqi Christian life, once an Assyrian Christian refugee herself, Juliana Taimoorazy made the decision to seek the help of the world for these beleaguered people.
After meeting Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, he personally encouraged Juliana to shed light on the Assyrian plight. In 2007 after much prayer and encouragement from the community, the Iraqi Christian Relief Council was launched. Juliana formed a movement aimed at shattering the world’s silence on the persecution of Iraq’s Christians who to this very day face the destruction of their churches, torture, abductions, sexual slavery and assassinations.
Our team takes the responsibility of spreading the word about the brutal treatment of Assyrian, (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) Christians in Iraq, and providing desperately needed help to the victims.
In 2009, Iraqi Christian Relief Council became registered a 501(c)(3) in the state of Illinois where our work is funded through the generosity of individuals, churches, foundations and businesses. Today we serve persecuted Assyrians Christians in Iraq and the Middle East through emergency humanitarian relief, such as food distribution and shelter, prayer support and advocacy.