Iraqi Christians Told to Convert, Pay Jizyah or Die

CNN and Islam in Action | Oct. 11, 2008

At least 900 Christian families have fled Mosul in the past week, terrified by a series of killings and threats by Muslim extremists ordering them to convert to Islam or face possible death, officials said Saturday.

The attacks may have been prompted by Christian demonstrations ahead of provincial elections, which are to be held by the end of January, the deputy governor of Nineveh province said.

Deputy Gov. Khasro Goran said 13 Christians have been slain in the past two weeks inMosul, about 260 miles (420 kilometers) north of Baghdad. Fleeing Christians have sought refuge in monasteries and churches and with family members in other towns, an Interior Ministry official said.

The attacks began after hundreds of Christians took to the streets in Mosul and surrounding villages and towns, seeking greater representation on provincial councils, whose members will be chosen in the local elections.

Duraid Mohammed Kashmoula, Nineveh’s governor, told The Associated Press that the exodus was “a major displacement.”

“Of course, al Qaeda elements are behind this campaign against Christians,” Kashmoula told AP.

The Interior Ministry official said the homes of three families were destroyed with explosives Saturday after the occupants left. No injuries were reported.

A week ago, leaflets were distributed in several predominantly Christian neighborhoods, threatening families to “either convert to Islam or pay the jizyah or leave the city or face death,” said the Interior Ministry official.

Historically, jizya is a tax paid by non-Muslims in exchange for protection.

Goran said that a few days after the leaflets were passed out, gunmen set up checkpoints in parts of Mosul, stopping vehicles to inspect identification papers, searching for Christian names or other signs of religious affiliation. Many of the Christians killed were targeted in this way, he said.

Bashir Azoz, 45, told AP he fled his Mosul home after gunmen warned a neighbor to leave or be killed.

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Comments

  1. It’s a big tragedy! Even a bigger tragedy that the Christian World remains silent and indifferent.

  2. The Christian world….

    Hmmmm….

    Well, I am sure that there will be coverage in Europe. But America? The news media is not really particularly concerned about Christians.

    The Left is not concerned about Christians.

    The Religious Right? Noticing the suffering of these questions means calling into question the most cherished talking point McCain has – the success of the ‘surge.’

    If you pay attention to the ongoing suffering of Christians, then that highlight the fact that the Surge has not been a total, smashing success.

    Christian ‘leaders’ in the United States will never do that. So these people will die in silence.