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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Why no demos about the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Iraq?

Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām via Wikimedia Commons

In a week in which we’ve seen many demonstrations over the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza, perhaps we should spare a thought for the hundreds of thousands of Christian victims of the large-scale ethnic cleansing and persecution which is going on throughout the Muslim world: whether that be west Africa, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, or, in this case, Iraq.
Map of the countries/areas in which the persecution of Christians is at its worst. (Note that that the red covers the entire Middle East and the larger Muslim world.)/IMAGE CREDIT: Wiki Commons

The other point that’s worth making here is that whereas the Israelis have gone out of their way to attack Hamas (a group that hides amongst civilians to guarantee civilian causalities – which is precisely what Hamas wants), in the Muslim world Christians are killed and persecuted solely because they are Christian; not because they are firing rockets into civilian areas or plotting terrorist attacks against Muslim civilians.

Yet, of course, there hasn’t been a demonstration recently over the plight of Christians in the Muslim world. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen one.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS (In the days before he looked like a pious Muslim cleric.)/PHOTO CREDIT: Wiki Commons

ISIS’s recent persecution and ethnic cleansing of Christians in Iraq is keeping up an old Islamic tradition. Indeed, ISIS has deployed many classic Islamic rationales for persecution and ethnic cleansing.

For example, two great themes of the historical persecution of Christians by Muslims have been forced conversion and dhimmitude.

In the latest flowering of the ancient war of Islam against all that is non-Islamic, ISIS has forced Iraqi Christians to flee from the city of Mosul.

ISIS – at its most stark, though Islamically bone fide - has threatened to kill Christians if they don’t convert to Islam. Either that, or Christians can pay the Islamic “protection tax” (jizya) and thus become a second-class citizens in Islam’s global apartheid regime.

The group is not hiding its ethnic cleansing of Christians, publicly reading the proclamation at all of Mosul’s mosques – giving Mosul’s Christians until midday on Saturday (yesterday) to abide by their Islamic rules or face execution.

All of this, it needs to be said, is in full harmony with both Islam and the Koran.

(I say “ethnic cleaning” because if Christians refuse to convert to Islam or pay the dhimmi tax, ISIS will then ethnically cleanse them from Mosul; and possibly, in the future, from the whole of Iraq and then Syria.)

The ISIS statement read:
We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimmi contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”
Muslims make much of the beneficence of the jizya “protection tax”.

But from whom do Christians and other non-Muslims need protecting?

Yes, that’s right: from Muslims.

This effectively means that many of the Muslims who are offering such protection – thus also earning money from such a “protection racket” – are the very same Muslims who would otherwise be attacking or persecuting the non-Muslims.

This also means that Muslims – the ones who are so graciously offering a dhimmi (apartheid) status to non-Muslims under their control - are effectively saying:

If you pay the jizya we will protect you. But if you don’t, we will either – at worst – kill you, or – at best – persecute and oppress you.”
(Editor’s note: Not only that, if they do accept dhimmitude they only live at the pleasure of their Muslim neighbors. Even the Mafia offers a better protection scheme in return for shaking down its victims.)
Mosul is not the only city to be ethnically cleansed of Christians. ISIS has also applied its Islamic demands – last February – in the Syrian city of Raqqa. In that instance, the required jizya for Syrian Christians was an ounce of pure gold.

In response to the demands in Mosul, an Iraqi Christian cleric by the name of Patriarch Louis Sako, said:
Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Irbil [in Kurdistan]. For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.”
The Patriarch also went on to say that 10,000 Christians have fled Mosul since ISIS captured the city at the beginning of June.

Louis Sako also told reporters that ISIS was tagging Christian houses with the letter ‘N’, which stands for Nassarah. This is a term from the Koran which refers to Christians.

Latin Church, Mosul, Iraq (1980s)/PHOTO CREDIT: Wiki Commons

Historically prior to 2003, Iraqi Christians numbered about 1.4 million (5% of the Iraqi population). Now the number is less than 200,000. After the start of the Iraq War of 2003, the number of Christians immediately fell to 800,000 from that previous number of 1.4 million.

However, Iraqi Christians have fared better than Iraqi Jews in this respect.

In 1948 there were roughly 150,000 Jews in Iraq. By 2008, there were 10 (yes, ten). The number of Jews in Iraq today must be almost zero.

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