Kurds Provide Safe Haven For Christians
“Christians in Iraq need special attention, because they’ve been suffering because they are Christians,”
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
April 24 Iraq (ankawa.com)-The Kurdish regional government in Northern Iraq is providing a safe haven to several thousand Iraqi Christians who have fled persecution in other parts of the country, government officials and local pastors told Newsmax.
“Christians in Iraq need special attention, because they’ve been suffering because they are Christians,” Deputy Prime Minister Omar Fattah told Newsmax in an exclusive interview in Erbil . “Maybe we give some instructions to others where they can go, but to Christians, never, because we are not afraid they will be terrorists.”
Some have been given government land and building materials to construct a house. Others have rented homes from friends, or are being put up in temporary shelters thanks to local churches and international donors.
“Most people came when the terrorists told them they must pay the jizya or they will be killed,” Ainkawa mayor, Fahmi Mehti Soltaqi, told Newsmax, referring to a “protection tax” levied on non-Muslims according to Shari’a law.
The terrorists told them that as Christians, they had no right to remain in a Muslim land without submitting to Muslim rule. To escape the jizya, some Christian refugees said they were told they must marry one of their daughters to a Muslim. Instead, when they could, they fled.
Rita used to live in Daura, a Christian neighborhood of Baghdad , until the Muslim terrorists drove her and her sisters and others to flee in August 2006. “The terrorists were torturing people in the house next door,” she said.
Her father stayed behind to work and guard the house. Last April, he promised to join his family in the north for the Easter holidays, but he never arrived.
Rita and her mother learned later that he and two other Christians had been abducted at gunpoint by masked men at a roadside teahouse on the outskirts of Baiji, midway between Baghdad and the north. “He was kidnapped one year and eight days ago, and we don’t know where he is or if he is still alive. We hope that he will return,” she said.