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Al-Qaeda Threat to Kurdish Converts

ICC Note: UN reports Al-Queda is intent on killing Christians

By George Conger
6/8/07 Kurdistan ( – Al-Qaeda has issued a death threat to Christian converts in Kurdistan the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports.

“We are hunting those who have converted to Christianity or Zoroastrianism as we consider them renegades and God’s punishment must be implemented by killing them,” the Islamist terrorist group said in a statement released on the internet on April 22.

Al-Qaeda urged Kurds to join the “Mujahedin and hoist the jihad flag against the crusaders who are occupying Iraq , instead of supporting them…”

Muslim elders in the northern Iraqi town of Sulaimaniyah told IRIN they believed the conversions to Christianity by Kurdish young people were economically motivated.

Christian missionaries had been “exploiting the harsh economic situation” in the region Sheikh Hassan Abdullah, a tribal elder told IRIN. Becoming a Christian was seen as a ticket out of Iraq for unemployed Kurds, who if they converted “can say that they are threatened and need a safe haven,” Abdullah said.

However a Roman Catholic priest in Sulaimaniyah told IRIN financial gain does not motivate a Muslim to accept Christianity. “Those youths reached their decision after having become fully convinced about what Christianity teaches. They believe in Christ and nothing else and we’re sure of that,” the priest said.

In the past year approximately 500 Muslim Kurds had converted to Christianity, said Ahmed. The threats from Al Qaeda will not deter Christian evangelism he said.