06/15/2007, 00.00
IRAQ
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Baghdad: more than a thousand Christian families forced to flee home

Escape is the only alternative to the threats made by Islamic militias against those who refuse to convert, pay “taxes” or give a daughter in matrimony to a Muslim, this according to ‘Portes ouvertes’, an NGO dedicated to persecuted Churches.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – More than a thousand Christian families in Baghdad have had to flee home leaving behind all their property as a result of threats from Islamic extremists, reports Portes ouvertes, an international Christian organisation dedicated to helping persecuted Churches. Its information confirms what Christian Churches have been saying all along, that Iraqi Christians are under attack.

In a press release, the NGO notes that threats by Islamic militias are made whenever Christians refuse to convert to Islam, pay the Jizya (a tax the Qur’an demands from non-Muslims to be exempt from duties required of Muslims), or give a daughter in marriage to a Muslim, and thus give her up for conversion.

The extremists’ action constitutes “a virtual campaign that seeks to empty Dora [a traditionally Christian area] and its adjacent neighbourhoods of its Christian population.”

Anyone who refuses has no choice but “to flee leaving all their property behind” and seek refuge abroad (Jordan and Syria top the list) or in the relatively calmer Kurdistan.

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