From my Sunday newspaper:
“An al-Qaida-affiliated insurgent group is giving Christians in Baghdad a stark set of options: convert to Islam, marry your daughters to our fighters, pay an Islamic tax, or leave with only the clothes on your back.”
The U.S. military is trying to protect the largest Christian enclave in Baghdad’s Dora neighborhood. In Syria, where thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled, tales abound of families that have been killed or driven from their homes because they couldn’t afford the tax levied on non-Muslim men of military age. A Christian Iraqi legislator estimated Tuesday that a half-million Christians have fled Iraq since 2004.
But there are others still there . . . and their lives are in danger.
I’ll never forget several years ago when my friend Anne DeGraaf fold me of an Iraqi Christian woman she had met shortly after Americans liberated Iraq from Saddam’s grasp. “Tell your people thank you,” the woman told Anne. “And don’t leave. If you go, we will be slaughtered. There will be no one to told them back.”
Think about the Iraqi Christians the next time you hear your congressperson urging a hasty retreat out of Iraq. I hate war as much as anyone, but the truth cannot be denied–a disorganized, hasty retreat will result in a bloodbath of Christians.
Ablahad Afram Sawa last week told the Iraqi parliament that “What is happening today in Iraq against Christians is shameful.” He said Christians hadn’t faced such oppression in nearly 2,000 years.