Iraq Christians taxed for their religion

As the number of Christians in Iraq continues to dwindle, reports are emerging that those who remain are being forced to pay Ottoman Empire-style poll taxes in order to be guaranteed protection and religious freedom.

AsiaNews reports that Islamic militias in Baghdad and Mosul are now ordering Christians to pay the jizya, a poll tax which dates back to the period of the Ottoman Empire, with money collected being given in alms to mosques.

In addition to these threats of extortion, thousands of non-Muslims are also being forced to leave their homes by letters assigning their house to Muslim citizens as part of the general campaign to "islamify" the entire country, beginning with the imposition of the veil on all women, AsiaNews says, quoting the website.

According to local Christians, the jizya poll tax is in reality a contribution to the holy war, which is said to also protect their community from external aggression.

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, AsiaNews concludes.

Islamic groups impose tax on Christian "subjects" (AsiaNews, 19/3/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Jizya (Wikipedia)

'Big problems'' for Iraqi Christians, Pontifical agency warns (CathNews, 2/3/07)
Pax Christi welcomes British plan to withdraw Iraq troops (CathNews, 23/2/07)
Non-violence a "way of being", Benedict says (CathNews, 19/2/07)
Indian Catholics mark Gandhi non-violence centenary (CathNews, 6/2/07)
Pax Christi raps profiteers in Palestinian occupation (CathNews, 12/7/06)
More young Christian women abducted, raped in Iraq (CathNews, 12/10/06)
Official highlights bleak outlook for Iraq (CathNews, 27/2/06)
Bishops see US 'at a crossroads in Iraq' (CathNews 16/1/06)
British cardinal prays for Iraq peacemaker hostages (CathNews 13/12/05)
Priests say Iraqi Christians now victims of extortion (CathNews 8/11/05)
Pax Christi stands firm on nuclear weapons (CathNews, 19/7/05)
Pax Christi Australia call for end to Falluja violence (CathNews 19/11/04)
Five churches bombed in Baghdad (CathNews, 18/10/04)
Pax Christi call for US to act as "honest broker" (CathNews 31/5/04)
Pope says Iraq war threatens humanity (CathNews, 24/3/03)
Vatican reasserts opposition to war in Iraq (CathNews, 4/10/02)

20 Mar 2007

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