Friday, April 20, 2007

Could It Get Worse For The Iraqi Christians?

A few weeks ago, my friend's cousin was kidnapped in Iraq. Fortunately, he returned safely to his family. But, his safe return came at a price. His kidnappers gave him the choice of either being killed or released on the condition of him converting to Islam. You can guess which option he chose to guarantee his safe return.

My friend told me that since her cousin came back home, he hasn't been himself. He doesn't want to talk about the whole ordeal. He's silent most of the time.

Similar stories were reported lately where Iraqi Christians are being forced to either leave their homes or convert to Islam, especially at Al-Dora district in Baghdad:

Six Christian families from the Mualimien neighborhood of Baghdad’s Dora district have relocated to a church elsewhere in the city, said a Baghdad source who requested that the families’ location and identity remain anonymous.

Armed Sunnis told the families on Saturday (April 14) that an amir (independent Muslim prince or ruler) had issued a fatwa or judgment based on Islamic law against Dora’s Christians, the source said.

“They called the Christians infidels and told them, ‘If you don’t convert to Islam or leave your homes in 24 hours, we will kill you,’” the source told Compass after speaking with a member of the church helping the displaced Christians.

Read more...

many Iraqi families live(d) in Al-Dora including many of my friends and relatives. Most of them have moved to other areas after they received death threats from the armed militias.

If that wasn't enough, the armed militias have come up with a new tactic to drive Iraqi Christians from their homes:

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – “Get rid of the cross or we will burn your Churches”. This is the threat aimed at the Chaldean Church of Sts Peter and Paul, located in the ancient Christian quarter of Baghdad, Dora. Local sources say an unknown armed Islamic group is behind the threats which are inseminating terror in the capital. The Arab website Ankawa.com and Aina news agency speak of a campaign of persecution in act in the area. Even Mosul, a Sunni stronghold, the Christian presence is being gravely threatened.

Msgr. Shlemon Warduni, Chaldean auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, tells AsiaNews “in the last 2 months many Churches have been forced to remove their crosses from their domes”. In the case of the Church of St. George, assira, Muslim extremists took the situation into their own hands: they climbed onto the roof and ripped out the cross. In the Chaldean Church of St John, in Dora, which has been without a pastor for months now, the parishioners themselves decided to move the cross to a safer place following repeated threats.

Read more...

This is the real beginning of the end for the Iraqi Christian community that existed for thousands of years. We survived many storms. I'm not sure we can survive this one that seems to be getting worse by the day.

Please, keep the Iraqi Christian community in your prayers.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ash said...

Hi Fayrouz,

I'm glad you liked the film about Akeela.

I'm really really sorry about your cousin. What is happening is truly horrible. No one can truly take Christ from your cousin's heart, no matter what they make him do. I will keep him in my prayers.

Bless you.

 
4/22/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Fayrouz said...

Hi Ash,

Thank you for your prayers. This was my friend's cousin. But, it still hurts to see Iraqis of different sectors being tortured for their faith.

 
4/22/2007 02:23:00 PM  

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