05/11/2016, 19.48
IRAQ
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For Chaldean Patriarchate, no Christian families are left in Mosul, tax payment a false rumour

Some reports claim that some Christian families still live under caliphate rule, paying the jizya. For Iraqi Church, only some captive and disabled Christians are left in the city. Car bomb in Baghdad kills scores in crowded market.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Recently, the Kurdish BasNews agency, which is based in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, reported that, according to sources inside Mosul, some Christian families are still living in Mosul and paying the jizya*, the Islamic poll tax for non-Muslims, to the Islamic State (IS) group.

Each Christian family supposedly pays US$ 170 a year to the Islamist militia. They apparently stayed behind because they could not pay for their escape.

The Chaldean Patriarchate has challenged the story. “There are no more Christian families in Mosul,” it said in a statement, “only a few individuals who were unable to escape” in the summer of 2014 when IS set up its self-proclaimed caliphate in the city. In a note to AsiaNews, the Iraqi Church noted that Christians fled the city en masse when IS seized Iraq’s second largest city.

Conversely, it is true that in recent years, there have been attempts to re-impose the jizya on Christian families. In March 2007, as various groups pursued re-Islamisation in cities like Baghdad and Mosul, which also entailed the abduction and murder of Christians, as in the cases of Mgr Rahho and Fr Ragheed Ganni, some issued orders to Christians to pay the tax.

Back in Mosul, some “50 disabled Christians are left at a medical facility because they were unable to escape”. Sadly, “it has been impossible so far to rescue them.” In addition, “some Christians abducted by Daesh* are still being held, but no family.”

Meanwhile, a car bomb exploded at 10 am today in a crowded market in northern Baghdad’s Sadr City, a predominantly Shia district.

The explosive device, which was concealed in a truck, killed at least 64 people and wounded 87, including women and children. IS claimed responsibility. The blast damaged nearby stores and buildings.

* The jizya is a poll tax imposed on non-Muslims in accordance with the Qur‘an in exchange for “protection” from the Muslim “ummah”. In the Ottoman Empire, it lasted until its collapse in 1918.

** Daesh is the Arabic acronym for Islamic State group.

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