Facing Extinction: Christians in Iraq

Islamic extremists are pushing to eliminate ancient Christian communities in Islamic lands.

Across the Middle East where Christianity was born and where Christians have maintained a presence for 2000 years, Christianity is in decline, most dramatically in Iraq. Against the enduring beauty and attraction of the Gospel, this decline is due to an alarming rise in political, jihadist Islam that is systematically annihilating Christians all over the world.

It is a persecution few dare name, because to do so means confronting powerful religious and political realities that have defied resolution for millennia and rising, popular anti-Christian sentiment worldwide. Christians are simply not seen as victims at all.

Mass Exodus of Iraqi Christians Underway

Washington, D.C. (February 26, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that hundreds of Christian families are fleeing from the Iraqi town of Mosul following the murder of eight Christians in the past two weeks.

Unknown assailants killed the father and two brothers of Father Mazin Ishoa. Father Ishoa, a priest of a Syriac Catholic church, had himself been kidnapped in 2007 and released upon payment of ransom.

According to ICC sources in Iraq, the killings are related to the upcoming general election on March 7. Kurdish and Arab political parties are vying to win the election in Mosul. Christian minorities are caught in the political struggle between the two parties.

This is the largest exodus of Christians from Mosul since October 2008 when more than 15,000 Christians fled the city following the killing of 15 Christians.

Karachi, a Christian sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy

Karachi (AsiaNews) - Qamar David, a Christian in the dock on charges of blasphemy, was sentenced to life imprisonment. The basis of the ruling, issued on Feb. 25, the fact that the man "hurt the religious feelings" of Muslims; however, the co-defendant was acquitted for lack of evidence. The police had arrested the man in 2006, although there was no evidence against him.
Additional District and Sessions Judge found Qamar David guilty of using blasphemous remarks about the Islamic Prophet and Quran and pronounced the verdict after hearing final arguments from both sides, daily Dawn reported yesterday.

After surviving attack, Pakistani Christian fears his family wants to kill him

Pakistan (MNN) ― After refusing bribes to convert to Islam, Pakistani Christian Riaz Masih, 26, sustained a beating from his four older brothers earlier this month.

Compass Direct News reported Masih's parents, who were Christians, died when he was a boy. After their deaths, a Muslim cleric, Moulvi Peer Akram-Ullah, raised him and his siblings. One by one, the cleric bribed the children to convert to Islam and recant their Christian faith.

Since then, Akram-Ullah continued to coerce Masih. Akram-Ullah and Masih's brothers offered him "1 million rupees (US$11,790), a spacious residence, and a woman of his choice to marry," according to Compass.

He declined, however, and his brothers proceeded to beat him with bamboo clubs until he was unconscious, and then left him for dead.

Tags: blasphemy, christians, convert or die, iraq, islam, muslims, pakistan, persecution

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