Muslim Cleric In Iraq Issues New Fatwa To All Iraqi Christians: Choose Islam Or Be Killed
John 16:2b, “… the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.”
Matthew 10:22, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”
By Joseph Mahmoud – “Baghdad (AsiaNews) – An Advent of light and shadow for Iraq’s Christians, who are celebrating the reopening of the cathedral of Baghdad but at the same time subjected to new – and heavy – threats from a radical Shiite Muslim leader. From studies of a television broadcaster based in Egypt, an Iraqi Ayatollah launches a fatwa against the religious minority on the eve of Christmas: ‘Conversion to Islam or death.’ However, strength of faith overcomes the fear of violence as witnessed by celebrations for the ‘rebirth’ of the Syrian Catholic cathedral in the capital, the scene of a bloody attack at the end of October 2010.
In an interview last December 13 on Egyptian television Al Baghdadia, the Shiite ayatollah Ahmad Al Hassani Al Baghdadi issued a fatwa against Christians in Iraq. Labeling them as ‘polytheists’ and ‘friends of the Zionists’, the extremist leader stressed that they must choose ‘or Islam or death,’ while ‘their women and girls may legitimately be regarded wives of Muslims.’ Al Baghdadi is known for his ‘jihad’ positions and for attacking Americans in the past during their presence in the country, and today he lives in Syria, supporting the armed opposition.
Catholic sources in the capital tell AsiaNews that it is ‘a very serious fatwa,’ but ‘it is unlikely that people will be upset too much.’ The government pays ‘attention’ to these proclamations by extremists, however it is possible that such words could ‘create panic in some areas of the capital,’ where there are now ‘very few’ Christians.” Read more.
Flashback: Iraq: Islamic Extremists Want to Eliminate Christians From Country, Mass Movement of Christians Continues Unabated – “Ongoing violence against Christians in Iraq has produced an accelerated exodus of believers recently and numbering in the hundreds of thousands over the last 10 years, said Open Doors USA officials… ‘At the beginning of the summer, Open Doors estimated the number of Christians remaining in Iraq at 345,000. However, the number decreases every month,’ officials stated. ‘It is an estimation; some even think there are less Christians left in the country than that,’ another Open Doors member said.” Read more.
Flashback: Iraq’s ‘Twilight of Christianity’: Fleeing Islamic Extremism, Exodus From North Signals Iraqi Christians’ Slow Decline – “Iraq’s dwindling Christians, driven from their homes by attacks and intimidation, are beginning to abandon the havens they had found in the country’s north, discouraged by unemployment and a creeping fear that the violence they had fled was catching up to them. Their quiet exodus to Turkey, Jordan, Europe and the United States is the latest chapter of a seemingly inexorable decline that many religious leaders say tolls the twilight of Christianity in a land where city skylines have long been marked by both minarets and church steeples. Recent assessments say that Iraq’s Christian population has now fallen by more than half since the 2003 American invasion, and with the military’s departure, some Christians say they lost a protector of last resort.” Read more.