* Just a month ago it didn’t look too bad. There was some hope, as we could see here:
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Iraq gets its first Christian militia – with a little help from the peshmerga
* Â In the fifties and sixties they did the same thing with the Jews.
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* Â Now, Islam shows itself again in all itsÂ ugliness:
Islamic fundamentalists: “expel Christians from Mosul”
Yesterday, a 38-year-old Chaldean was shot to death, but there could be a total of three victims. Men are driving around the city shouting slogans against the Christians, threatening more slaughter and violence. From the U.S. command, confirmation that Mosul has become the last stronghold of the al Qaeda militants.
*Â Mosul, martyrdom of Iraqi Christians continues
* Sharia fever hits Sudan:Â outrage after police in the capital, Juba, arrested more than 30 women for wearing tight trousers or short skirts.Â Women pulled from Church by Muslim moral police, beaten & arrested over clothing…
Mosul (AsiaNews) – Jalal Moussa, 38, is the latest victim in the campaign of hatred launched by Islamic fundamentalists against Christians in Mosul, the theater of an “endless martyrdom,” to the silence of the media and the international community. Jalal, a Christian of the Chaldean rite, was shot to death in front of his home in the neighborhood of Noor, the same neighborhood where Fr. Ragheed Gani and three deacons were killed in 2007, and where Archbishop Paulo Farj Rahho was kidnapped. The kidnapping of the archbishop of Mosul at the end of February ended tragically two weeks later, when the archbishop’s body was found in an abandoned lot outside of the city.
AsiaNewsÂ sources reveal that “there could be two more victims,” but at the moment there are no further details on their identity or the manner in which they were ambushed.
There is no end to the bloodshed in Mosul: in less than a week, nine people have died because they were Christians. From the town in the province of Nineveh come dramatic appeals, pleading “that silence not fall” over the continuing slaughter. “A campaign is underway to drive the Christians out of the area,” a source reveals toÂ AsiaNews, “and yesterday, a car with a loudspeaker went around the streets in the neighborhood of Sukkar, ordering the Christians to leave.” “Christians out of the city,” the people on board were shouting, “otherwise you will be victims of more attacks.”
The persecution against the Christians could conceal political and economic motives, woven together with the confessional element at the basis of the violence committed on the part of the fundamentalist and jihadist Islamic world. Some of the victims in recent days were owners of stores and commercial activities in Mosul, a clear signal that the terrorists intend to wipe out the economic activity of Christians, forcing the population to leave. According to some witnesses, before shooting the terrorists accused the Christians of “wanting to create an enclave in Nineveh,” and then proceeded with the execution in cold blood. Confirmation of how dangerous the city is, where gangs of terrorists connected to al Qaeda operate, also comes from the American military command: “Al Qaeda is trying to get a foothold in Iraq,” reveals General Mark Hertling, commander of US troops in northern Iraq, “and Mosul is the base of operations that they have chosen for launching their attacks,” with the infiltration of foreign militants from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, and Pakistan, through the Syrian border.
Most soul is also the place excluded from elections scheduled for January, and will hold a separate referendum that should determine destiny of the entire region, at the center of a struggle between the Kurdish and Arab communities. This is not an insignificant factor, if one considers the huge quantities of oil waiting to be tapped; the vote of the Christians could be decisive in tipping the balance to one side or the other.
The project inherent to the “plain of Nineveh” – where the intention is allegedly to create an enclave in which the Christians of Iraq could find refuge – has been at the center of exploitation and polemics, and is opposed by the majority of the Iraqi Church; the enclave, in fact, could be transformed into a sort of ghetto for shutting up refugees fleeing from Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, and Basra. The danger is that this could become “a ghetto for Christians,” as Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, described the project in 2007, “and a breeding ground for revolts, clashes, and social tensions, as is taking place today in Palestine.” For this reason, the Church has always promoted “coexistence under the banner of peace and mutual respect,” among populations that are “rooted by history and tradition in the Iraqi homeland.”
The violence in Mosul in recent weeks has driven an increasing number of people to leave the city. According to estimates by local Christians, “every week more than 20 families decide to flee.” This exodus has “emptied entire neighborhoods” of Christians, “to the indifference of the media and of Western governments.” (DS)
Iraq gets its first Christian militia – with a little help from the peshmerga By Agence France PresseÂ
Agence France Presse
TEL ASQUF, Iraq: With Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders, members of Iraq’s first Christian militia enforce one simple rule on the border of this little village: “Anyone not from Tel Asquf is banned.” This village in northern Iraq’s flashpoint Nineveh Province, frequently targeted by Sunni and Shiite fighters, has now taken security into its own hands with armed patrols and checkpoints at the village’s four entrances.
The village borders are marked with a sand barrier built by residents in a bid to stop car bombs breaching the perimeter as they did in 2007 when two such attacks within six months rocked the village and spurred the local authorities into action.
“The terrorists want to kill us because we are Christian. If we don’t defend ourselves, who will?” asked militia group leader Abu Nataq.
Associated with the “Crusader” invaders and regarded as well-off, Iraqi Christians are often victims of sectarian violence, killings and kidnappings at the hands of both Sunni and Shiite Islamists, as well as criminal gangs.
Iraq’s Christians, with the Chaldean rite by far the largest community, were said to number as many as 800,000 before the 2003 US-led invasion, but this number is believed to have halved as people fled the brutal sectarian violence.
Neighborhood militias have become popular in Iraq, particularly with the rise of the Awakening groups – former Sunni insurgents who switched sides after being paid by US forces to battle Al-Qaeda.
But Iraq’s Christian population, concentrated in Nineveh and its capital city Mosul, had not until now organized its own fighting force.
“We used to pay ‘jezya’ [protection money] and they would leave us alone,” Nataq said in reference to a tax levied on the Christian community by Al-Qaeda in exchange for peace.
The term harks back to the seventh century, a period of great expansion in Islam when Christians and Jews were forced to pay additional taxes to the majority Muslims.
But Tel Asquf’s villagers rebelled against the payments and called on the help of the Kurdish forces of Irbil, the nearby capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region, after judging that its own provincial capital, Mosul, had too large a Sunni Arab population.
“I prefer the help of Kurdistan, of the peshmerga,” Nataq said. The Kurdish fighters now controlled the roads leading to the village and claimed large swathes of the region, much to the fury of Mosul’s Arab population, he added.
The peshmerga provide Kalashnikov rifles and radios to the 200 Christian militiamen who receive around $200 dollars a month from the Irbil administration to protect the 8,000 inhabitants of the village.
Since the arrangement was introduced around 10 months ago, the Christian militiamen have never had to use their weapons, “because the peshmerga form the first line of defense,” Nataq said.
Christian fighters are stationed at the village’s entry points and mobile teams patrol inside the inner cordon, especially around the Chaldean Catholic Church of St. George, which, like many of Iraq’s churches, has paid a heavy price in this blood-soaked land.
On January 6, a series of bombs at outside churches and a monastery in Mosul, in an apparently coordinated attack that wounded four people and damaged buildings, as Christians celebrated Epiphany. In March, the body of Iraq’s kidnapped Chaldean archbishop, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was found near Mosul, prompting the condemnation of Pope Benedict XVI and US President George W. Bush.
Along with thousands of other Christians, the archbishop used to pay the jezya but decided to stop. Some believe that this was the reason for his kidnapping and murder.
Hani Petrus, 45, fled to Tel Asquf seeking refuge from the bloodshed, like dozens of other Christians from Baghdad, Samarra and Basra.
“I am a school headmaster but I used to work in a petrol station in Mosul. The terrorists used to come and serve themselves petrol for free and take money from the cash register: $200 to $300 each time,” he said.
“In Mosul, my children were not able to play in the street. I didn’t want to let my 12-year-old daughter go to school. I was so worried about her,” he said, adding that his family was one of four families into one house.
“We are virtually living on top of one another and everything is expensive because the shopkeepers know that we cannot make the trip into Mosul,” he said.
Salem Samoon Jbo, 46, used to sell liquor in Basra but fled north, first to Baghdad and then Tel Asquf, after Shiite extremists ordered him to close the store in 2006. They had learned that he was working for the US forces. Now he stands guard outside one of the entrances to the St. George Church. He works seven days – alternating two hours on duty and two hours off – then takes two weeks off.
“There isn’t any other work here. There is nothing else to do. I don’t like guns but I have no other choice,” he said. “In any case, it is better than the work in Basra. There, I worked for the Americans and was a target for the Shiite militias. I worked as a bomb-disposal expert.”
Copyright (c) 2008 The Daily Star
Justification is right here in the Koran:
YUSUFALI:Â And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.Â
PICKTHAL:Â And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.Â
SHAKIR:Â And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.