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    » 03/19/2007, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Islamic groups impose tax on Christian “subjects”



    Islamic militias in Baghdad and Mosul order Christians to pay the jizya, a poll tax which dates back to the period of the Ottoman Empire, which guaranteed non Muslims the right to practise their religion as well as Muslim protection; the groups are ordered “not to reveal their activities” to Iraqi authorities while all contributions are given in alms to the Mosques.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) – “Non Muslim subjects must pay a contribution to the jihad if they wish to be allowed to live and practise their faith in Iraq”. These orders are being imposed on the Christians of Mosul and Baghdad by Islamic militias.  Besides these threats of extortion, thousands of non Muslims are also being forced to leave their homes by letters assigning their house to Muslim citizens.  The initiative is part of the general campaign to Islamafy the entire country, which begun with the imposition of the veil on all women.  The website Ankawa.com was the first to carry news of this latest development; the website has eye witness accounts of Iraqi refugees in Erbil, in the semi autonomous region of Kurdistan.

    The fourth anniversary of the US military’s arrival in Baghdad, March 20th 2003, brings with it little improvement in the conditions of the ever decreasing Christian community. Bomb attacks, kidnappings and threats continue to mark the daily existence of those few who so far have not been able to leave.  The latest sign of the increasingly worrying situation is news that the community is now being forced to pay the jizya, a “poll tax” requested from non Muslims according to the Koran, guaranteeing “protection” form the Islamic umma. The tax was once extracted by the Ottoman Empire until its collapse in 1918, but now Baghdad and Mosul’s Mosques have ordered it be put in place again, “without revealing it to authorities”.

    According to local Christians it really is a contribution to the holy war, which – the jihad maintains - will also protect their community from external aggression. The monies collected are then given over to Mosques, but “without the knowledge of authorities”.

    Other accounts tell of letters being left in gardens or the entrance to Christian homes, notifying the families that they must leave their dwellings because they have been assigned to others, whose names and surnames are listed in black and white in the letters. 

     

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