Acton Institute
Feb 27 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015
By Elise Hilton

In both Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State is literally hunting
and killing Assyrian Christians. Just this week, dozens of these
Christians in Syria were captured by the Islamic State; their fate
remains unknown. Who are these people facing persecution?

Michael Holtz, at1 The Christian Science Monitor, examines the long
history of these Christians.

Alternatively known as Syriac, Nestorian, or Chaldean Christians, they
trace their roots back more than 6,500 years to ancient Mesopotamia,
predating the Abrahamic religions. For 1,800 years the Assyrian empire
dominated the region, establishing one of most advanced civilizations
in the ancient world.

The Assyrian empire collapsed in 612 B.C. during the rise of the
Persians. Then, 600 years later, they became among the earliest
converts to Christianity. They still speak an endangered form of
Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, and consider themselves the
last indigenous people of Syria and Iraq.

Following the birth of Christianity, Assyrian missionaries spread
across Asia, from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, and built a new
empire that lasted until Arab Muslims swept through the Middle East
in 630.

Modern Assyrian Christians are all too familiar with religious
persecution. One hundred years ago, the Assyrians were the victims
of genocide at the hands of Armenians in modern-day Turkey. About
40,000 Assyrian Christians remain in Syria today; many have fled the
country because of extremist groups like the Islamic State.

The Islamic State has imposed a "religious tax" on any groups that
are not Muslim in Syria and other regions, and there are reports
that the group has ordered the removal of crosses from churches. Of
course, these are small concerns compared to the mass kidnappings
and executions the Islamic State is known for.

Read "Who are the Assyrian Christians under attack from Islamic
State?" at The Christian Science Monitor.1


Acton University 2014 Flash Drive Bundle2

Own all 107 of the lectures from Acton University 2014 on a USB flash
drive with this inexpensive bundle. Valued at $ 105.93, these lectures
were recorded live at Acton University 2014 sessions. The drive itself
comes with lectures numbered, including the lecturer and course title
in the file name.

Includes plenary lectures from:

Rev. Robert Sirico, co-founder of the Acton Institute and author
of Defending the Free Market3 Makoto Fujimura, Artist and Public
Intellectual Andy Crouch, Executive Editor, Christianity Today Ross
Douthat, Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times

Includes lectures from the following popular speakers:

Jordan Ballor, author of Ecumenical Babel4 and Get Your Hands Dirty5
Anthony Bradley, author of Keep Your Head Up6 and Liberating Black
Theology7 Victor Claar, author of Fair Trade? Its Prospects as a
Poverty Solution8 Jonathan Witt, lead writer for the PovertyCure
initiative9 Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton10
Charlie Self, author of Flourishing Churches and Communities: A
Pentecostal Primer on Faith, Work, and Economics for Spirit-Empowered
Discipleship11 Michael Butler, author of Creation and the Heart of
Man: An Orthodox Perspective on Environmentalism12 Vincent Bacote,
Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College
John Armstrong, author of The Unity Factor: One Lord, One Church,
One Mission13 ...and more!

Visit the official Acton University website14 for information on
attending in person!