Pope: “firm condemnation” for “all forms of torture”, solidarity for victims, efforts to abolish it

June 23, 2014 by  
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Vatican City, June 22, 2014: At the Angelus, recalling that Corpus Christi is being celebrated in many countries today, Francis said that participation in the Eucharist “transforms” and “make us able to love even those who don’t love us, to oppose evil with good, to forgive, to share, to welcome”.

Pope FrancisA “firm condemnation” by Pope Francis for “all forms of torture”. “Torturing people is a deadly sin, a very serious sin.” The Pope thus reminded the 50,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s square for the Angelus that next June 26 will be the United Nations’ Day for Victims of Torture, which he asked Christians to support, and also to make an effort to obtain the abolition of the practice.

Before the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Pope commented on the celebration in Italy and in many other countries of Corpus Christi, saying that participation in the Eucharist “transforms” and “makes us able to love even those who don’t love us, to oppose evil with good, to forgive, to share, to welcome”. “The Ecclesial community,” he said, “gathers around the Eucharist to worship the most precious treasure which Jesus has left her. John’s Gospel presents the discourse on the ‘bread of life’, spoken by Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum, in which He states: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn  6:51). Jesus points out that he has not come into this world to give something, but to give himself, his life, as nourishment for those who have faith in him. Our communion with the Lord commits us, his disciples, to imitate him, making of our lives, with our attitudes, a bread broken for others, as the Master has broken the bread that is His flesh.”

“Whenever we participate in the Holy Mass and we eat the body of Christ, the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit works within us, it shapes our hearts, it communicates inner attitudes that transform within us into modes of behavior according to the Gospel.

Firstly, docility to the Word of God, then fraternity among Christians, the courage of Christian witness, the creativity of charity, the ability to give hope to the disheartened, to welcome the excluded. In this way the Eucharist matures a Christian lifestyle in us. Christ’s charity, welcomed with an open heart, changes us, transforms us, makes us capable of loving not according to a human measure, which is always limited, but according to God’s measure, and God’s measure is without measure. The measure of God is without measure, God’s love is without measure. And then we become able to love even those who do not love us, and it is not easy, if we know that a person does not love us we tend not to like that person, but we must love those who do not love us, to oppose evil with good, to forgive, to share, to welcome.

Thanks to Jesus and his Spirit, even our life becomes ‘bread broken’ for our brothers. And living this way, we discover true joy! The joy of making oneself a gift, to reciprocate the great gift that we have first received, without merit. I would like to highlight these two things: the measure of God’s love is to love without measure, our life with the love of Jesus; by receiving the Eucharist we make ourselves a gift just as Jesus was.”

– asianews

Words of Wisdom

June 18, 2014 by  
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“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you Rejoice.”
~Kabir~
Kabir
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, To be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
~Unknown~
friend
“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.”
~Maureen Dowd~

“If you think somebody cares about you and believes your life is worth saving, how can you give up?”
~Geraldine Ferraro~

“Keep your chin up and you will see the clouds in the sky. Keep your chin down and all you will see is the dirt on the floor.”
~Shelley L.Young~

Happiness is inward and not outward; and so it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are.
~Henry Van Dyke~
happiness
Life is not a dress rehearsal. Everyday, you should have at least one exquisite moment.
~Sally Karioth~

– fwd: v c mathews

Egypt: Christian charged with “blasphemy” over Facebook like

June 18, 2014 by  
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Knights of the Cross pageEgypt, June 18, 2014: A young Christian man has been charged under Egypt’s “blasphemy” law for “liking” a Facebook page that local Muslims deemed offensive to Islam. The case prompted attacks by Islamists on Christian property.

Kerolos Shouky Attallah (29) of El-Mahameed village near Luxor is scheduled to appear in court on 24 June on a charge of showing disdain or contempt for a heavenly religion, which carries a penalty of between six months and five years in prison, or a fine.

Kerolos was accused after clicking the “like” button on a Facebook page run by a group of converts from Islam to Christianity, the Knights of the Cross. The page features posts about Christian and Islamic teachings, and is intended to encourage Arabic-speaking converts from Islam in their faith. Kerolos did not add any content to the page or interact with posts by others.

The content is accessible to anyone, and Muslim villagers in El-Mahameed took offence at a cartoon that was posted on the page. Kerolos did not “like” this particular post, but on 28 May, Muslims printed and distributed leaflets demanding that the Christian be kicked out of the village.

Kerolos “unliked” the Knights of the Cross page, but this did not prevent villagers from attacking his home the following day. Moderate Muslims in El-Mahameed prevented the mob from attacking other Christian homes.

Police were called to the scene and arrested Kerolos, who was subsequently charged. No charges were brought against the Muslim villagers who attacked his home.

Kerolos was due to appear in court on 2 June, and ahead of his hearing that day, Islamists launched an attack on El-Mahameed, torching a number of Christian-owned shops.

The case was postponed after Islamists tried to dominate the court, bringing around 20 lawyers to support the blasphemy claims. Kerolos is being held in detention.

Safwat Samaan, chairman of Luxor-based human rights group Nation Without Borders, toldMorning Star News  that judges are “ignoring the new constitution”, which was passed in January. He said:

According to the constitution, Kerolos should not be in jail, because it allows freedom of speech and expression, but the judges are not using the new constitution and are still working with the old law.

Egypt’s blasphemy law has been used disproportionately against the country’s Christian minority. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights found that 41% of blasphemy cases filed between 25 January 2011 – the date of the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak – and 31 December 2012 were against Christians, who comprise only around ten per cent of the population.

Christians are hopeful that the election last month of former military chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi as the country’s new president will result in improvements for their community. The retired field marshal is extremely popular with Christians and other Egyptians who opposed the Islamist regime of Mohammed Morsi that he removed. They see him as a strong leader who will protect them from Islamist violence and uphold their rights.

– barnabas team

Christian teenager raped and killed by Muslim in Pakistan

June 18, 2014 by  
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Christian teenager rapedPakistan, June 11, 2014: Barnabas partners in Pakistan are pursuing justice for the family of a Christian teenager who was raped and killed by a young Muslim man.

Sanwal Masih (17) from Gujranwala died on 29 May. He had been violated and poisoned at the estate where he worked at Dhalia Chatta Tehsil Wazirabad.

The teenager was found collapsed and faint by some children who immediately informed his family. Sanwal’s uncle rushed to the scene and took him to hospital but, due to his critical condition, he had to be transferred to another unit. On the way there, Sanwal told his uncle what had happened to him. He died on transfer to a third hospital.

Following Sanwal’s death, the owner of the estate came to his family’s house and threatened them in an attempt to force them to bury the body immediately.

But they refused, and reported Sanwal’s murder to the police. A First Information Report, which launches an investigation in Pakistan, was lodged, a post-mortem carried out and the accused arrested.

CLAAS, a Christian legal organisation in Pakistan that Barnabas supports, is helping the grieving family. They are carrying out their own enquiries and pursuing justice for Sanwal.

As a despised minority, Christians are often denied justice in Pakistan, especially when their case is against a Muslim/Muslims.

– barnabas team

Persecution in Chhattisgarh & MP

June 18, 2014 by  
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Evangelists intimidated in Katni, Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh, June 17, 2014: Two local Evangelists & few believers associated with the Katni Brethren Assembly were returning from a wedding reception and before dispersed they gathered at a believer’s home for prayer. After they finished, some group of people about 14-16 surrounded them, checked there bags, found Bible. They tore it & started abusing/thrashing them. The Christians could escape the clutches of the group. The persecuted Christians are shaken but encouraged that the Lord is with them. Kindly pray for the believers in this region as the majority of them are first-generation disciples of Christ. They are pained but continue to be strong in faith. About 50 of them desire to meet the District Collector to ask for his intervention and help.

Christian believers beaten up in Chhattisgarh

chhattisgarhMany of our believers of Sirisguda Assembly were beaten up by the villagers at 1 pm. They were not getting Govt ration since last month for not paying temple donation. Food inspector had come to check and the incident happened in front of the authorities. About 150 believers (brothers & sisters) had gone to see the Food Inspectors. The villagers had brought sticks and they started beating everyone. Believers had to run away and villagers chased and beat them. One brother was beaten very badly with lathis and became unconscious. Villagers blocked the persecuted Christians from being taken to hospital and later when police came, they were finally taken with police protection in ambulance to nearby hospital. 9 believers are admitted in Lohandiguda Hospital.”

We are deeply concerned about attacks on Christians in MP & CG. Both attacks on the members of Brethren Assembly in two states within two days comes at a time when the new Govt in India has taken charge. The peace loving Christians are always at the receiving end in all these scenarios. The believers are scared to approach police to as they fear it can backfire (possible scenario by authorities) & backlash (possible revenge attacks from the groups) Will the minorities feel safe in the new regime? Will the new Govt. stand up to the expectations of the Christian community? Can the peace loving Christians feel safe at the hands of the new regime? We the believers need to pray for peace & tranquility and also for the grace of God on the new regime. We need to pray for the safety of believers & evangelists who live & serve in remote locations too.

– vineyard voice

Bhubaneswar, the government demolishes 30 Christian homes and a church

June 18, 2014 by  
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bhubaneswarBhubaneswar, June 12, 2014: The authorities in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Orissa, yesterday demolished a church and 30 houses of the Christian community that lives in the slums Behera, in the district of Nayapalli. AsiaNews was alerted  of the episode by theGlobal Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). The municipality and the Development Authority justified the destruction of places of worship, housing and all of the worldly possessions of the owners with the need to expand and extend the adjacent street.

According to Sajan K. George, president of the GCIC, the demolition “is a gross violation of human rights. The administration decided to destroy their homes just as Orissa is suffering a heat wave”. Overall, the Christian community in the area has 250 members.

The gesture the activist told AsiaNews, “is a way to intimidate and persecute these poor Christians. Now they have nowhere to live, and what is worse is that they have no food, no drinking water. Their future is daunting: most survive on daily work or are laborers. How will they survive now that all their belongings were destroyed? What will become of the women and children, who were already living in insecurity?”.

The GCIC, he adds, “is not contrary to progress and development, but this should not be done without putting people at the center.”

This is not the first time that the local church has been  targeted by the authorities. On 2 July 2008, seven Protestant pastors were beaten and imprisoned on false charges of forced conversions. Back then – as now – the government in the Orissa was run by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a regional right wing party and ally of theBharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu ultra-nationalist formation that since May 16 last is at the helm of the central government of ‘India.

– asianews

IOS organizes lecture on international human rights and norms for protection of minorities

June 18, 2014 by  
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IOSNew Delhi, June 13, 2014: Delivering the Seventh Lecture under the series on the Indian Constitution on ‘International Human Rights, Norms for the Protection of Minorities and the Indian Constitution’, organised by the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) here on June 7, 2014, the Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia, Dr. Eqbal Hussain observed that the human rights were the articulation of the need for justice, tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity in all of our activities.

He said that the traditional first generation rights were incorporated as fundamental rights in part-III and the second generation human rights were included as directive principles of state policy in part-IV of the Indian Constitution.

Commenting on the new Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mrs. Najma Heptullah’s statement soon after assuming office that Muslims could not be treated as minorities as they were the second largest majority in India, Dr. Hussain said that the word minority was alien to the dictionary of the RSS. He argued that the issues relating to the minorities rights were extensively discussed in the Constituent Assembly, particularly by Dr. B R Ambedkar, Dr. S Radhakrishan and D E Smith, and the term ‘minority’ and secular state were interpreted.

He buttressed his point by saying that Articles 25 to 30 were incorporated in the Indian Constitution to confer the rights of the freedom of religion and cultural and educational right on the minorities. He maintained that the concern of international community about the treatment of minorities was based on the premise that the international protection of the rights of the minorities was an essential aspect of the international protection of human rights. In this connection, he referred to the UN Declaration on Minorities in 1992. In order to implement it, documents like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (1992), Recommendations for UN Declaration on Minorities and Implementing UN Declaration on Minorities, were prepared.

Dr. Hussain pointed out that the question of fundamental human rights had been relevant ever since the rudimentary structure of human society came to be established. Tracing the modern concept of human rights, he said that the Second World War (1939-1945), in which both human and natural rights of the people of the world had been trampled in no uncertain manner, caused the world community to think of establishing a collective mechanism by which such cataclysms could be prevented in future.

This resulted in one of the most momentous events of world history with the formation of the United Nations in 1945 and the publication of the United Nations Charter. This was also a turning point in the human rights vis-a-vis international law, he remarked. He held that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, on December 10, 1948, partly in response to the atrocities committed during the Second World War. As a follow-up, two international covenants – (i) Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and (ii) Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), were signed in 1966 to give effect to the UDHR, he concluded.

Senior advocate of the Supreme Court, Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad, who conducted the proceedings, opined that human rights were essential for human existence. He advised the minorities, particularly the Muslims, not to over-react to the utterances of others. He said that legal recourse was always available to aggrieved persons to approach the lower court in the first instance against the violation of human rights guaranteed under the Constitution. One could also knock at the door of the apex court in such cases.

The Chairman of IOS, Dr. M. Manzoor Alam, said that the Supreme Court had ruled as far back as 1997 that the basic structure of the Constitution could not be changed. Since the rights of religious and linguistic minorities formed part of the fundamental structure of the Constitution, they were also inviolable. He noted that 50 percent vacancies of judges in various high courts and the Supreme Court were likely to come along in the near future, and if these vacancies were filled with people who had a tilt towards a particular ideology, the principles of equality, justice and liberty enshrined in the Constitution could become a casualty.

Complaining that the rights of the minorities had been systematically violated, he sought to know if an Indian citizen could directly approach the International Court of Justice at the Hague as an aggrieved party. Painting the prevailing situation as fluid, he recalled Justice Rajinder Sachar’s recent statement in which he stated that “those who opposed freedom struggle are ruling the country today.” It was a moot question if the voices being raised on various issues concerning Muslims in different corners were aimed at provoking them. He pointed out that the choice was between provocation and an agenda for development.

Assistant Secretary-General of the IOS and the professor of Law at the Gurugobind Singh Indraprastha University, Prof. M Afzal Wani, opined that legally the basic structure of the Constitution could not be changed. He quoted several constitutional experts like Nani Palkhiwala, Soli Sorabjee, etc., in this connection. He suggested that the IOS should collect reports on human rights and work on them.

Secretary General of the IOS, Prof. Z M Khan, in his presidential remarks said that it hardly needed to be explained that Muslims were being selectively targeted. Indiscriminate violation of their rights had created a fear psychosis in them.

Muslim boys feared to freely talk to their fellows. He said that though the country was secular, it was being communalised. If this trend was allowed to continue, Muslims would be isolated. He was all praise for the letter and spirit of the Constitution, but lamented that its execution was hardly up to mark. He advised that the power of vote should be consciously used to have a say in governance. He regretted that we had made a cosy corner for ourselves to live in. Unless we reached an arrangement with the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, OBCs and other marginalised sections in the electoral politics, we could not sustain them.

The lecture was attended by Prof. Refaqat Ali Khan, Vice-Chairman of the IOS Mr. E M Abdul Rahman from Kochi (Kerala), Syed Mustafa Rifai Nadvi and Syed Baqar Arshad Qasim from Bangalore, Mr. Shaikh Nizamuddin from Sholapur, Mirza Zaki Beg, Mr. Muzaffar Husain Ghazali, Mr. Raju Mansukhani, Mr. Arun Dayal, several academics social activists and prominent citizens.

– tcn

Illinois nuns take legal action against bordering strip club

June 18, 2014 by  
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Illinois nunsChicago, June 17, 2014: The Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo have taken legal action against a giant “adult entertainment” club built in their backyard – despite state law which prohibits such facilities within 1,000 feet of a place of worship.

“Strip clubs don’t belong next to convents and single-family homes,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society.

The Thomas More Society is representing the convent in the lawsuit against the neighboring strip club which, according to the suit, violates Illinois zoning laws. The Village of Melrose Park has joined the sisters in their lawsuit against the Village of Stone Park, the adjacent village where the club is built.

The Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo have made their home in their Melrose Park convent for over 70 years. The convent is made up of a home for elderly sisters, a school for novices and living space for the sisters, as well as three chapels. The back of the strip club is visible from one of the chapels and stands just a few feet away from the convent’s backyard fence.

The suit asserts that “Club Allure” – which was originally intended to be named “Get It” – has brought drunken violence, blaring lights and loud music until 5 a.m., litter such as liquor bottles, used condoms, used syringes, and “unruly late night pedestrian traffic” to the neighborhoods surrounding the club.

“The Sisters have every right to pray and work peacefully without disruption from a strip club in their backyard,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society. “We are fighting for the rights of the Sisters, neighboring families, and people of Melrose Park. The Illinois state zoning law provides for their protection, and they deserve to have the law enforced.”

In April 2010, the Village of Stone Park – the bordering village where the strip club stands – was sued by the club’s developer who accused officials of “shaking him down for cash and part ownership of the (c)lub in exchange for permission to build the facility,” according to one report from the Thomas More Society.

Although the lawsuit had little to do with zoning ordinances, the village agreed to repeal several of them as part of the settlement, including one similar to the state’s statute which prohibits adult entertainment facilities from being built within 1,000 feet of places of worship.

The sisters and residents from Stone Park and Melrose Park protested the strip club when it was discovered what kind of facility it would be.

The $3 million, 18,000 square foot “gentlemen’s club” eventually opened in Sept. 2013 after internal disputes between the landowner and the building owner.

The club boasts itself as “Chicago’s premiere adult playground” that is “constantly pushing the envelope with entertainment” and is perfect for bachelor, bachelorette, and divorce parties with both male and female “dancers.”

– cna

God’s prescription for good health

June 14, 2014 by  
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“Keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” Proverbs 3:1-2 (NIV)

God says, “If you do that I tell you to do with your health, you will enjoy a long life.”

Live by the wordIf I had a pill that could promise to add years to your life, you’d probably pay a lot of money for it.

But what if I told you, as a Christian, you already have the key to a long life and it’s free?

God has given all of the principles for health management in his Word, the Bible.

The Bible is the owner’s manual for your body.

As David says, “You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws” (Psalm 119:73 LB).

And in Deuteronomy, it says, “These instructions are not mere words – they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land …” (Deuteronomy 32:47 NLT).

Gods prescription for good healthGod says, “If you do what I tell you to do with your health, you will enjoy a long life.”

Our key verse today says, “Keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life …” (Proverbs 3:1 NIV).

What are some of those commands?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Gods prescription for good healthHonor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing …” (Proverbs 3:5-10 NIV).

These verses highlight some factors that you probably don’t think about, but they will keep you healthy: tranquility, trust in God, integrity, humility, and generosity.

These things will cause your health to be better because your physical health is influenced by your spiritual health.

– fwd: vc mathews

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Barnabas Edit: Threat to wider region, Christian presence, as ISIS takes Mosul

June 14, 2014 by  
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Iraq, June 12, 2014: The alarming fall of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) on Tuesday (10 June) and the group’s rapid advance south yesterday to Tikrit has sent shockwaves throughout the region.

Mosul fell to ISIS on Tuesday (10 June)

Mosul fell to ISIS on Tuesday (10 June)

It marks the greatest military success of the brutal jihadist group, which is fighting to create a cross-border Islamic state in Iraq, Syria and beyond. The second “S” in the acronym ISIS (sometimes ISIL) stems from the Arabic word, al-Sham, which refers to the Greater Syria or Levant area.

It already controls considerable territory in easternSyria and western and central Iraq. Writing in theIndependent on Monday (9 June), Patrick Cockburn, said that ISIS has now surpassed al-Qaeda as “militarily the most successful jihadi movement ever”.

ISIS formed in April 2013, an expansion of an existing group, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq. But al-Qaeda denounced ISIS in February, saying that the al-Nusra Front was its only offshoot in Syria.

ISIS, which has 3,000-5,000 fighters, has gone from strength to strength, taking Raqqa inSyria last year – the only provincial capital to fall to the opposition – and large parts of Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq at the beginning of this year. Thousands have been killed in its fierce campaign.

The militants have exploited the Sunni-dominated uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria and the disaffection of the Sunni minority in Iraq to present themselves as defenders of their co-religionists in places where they consider themselves oppressed by Shia regimes.

The US State Department said on Tuesday (10 June):

ISIS continues to gain strength from the situation in Syria, from which it transfers recruits, sophisticated munitions, and resources to the fight in Iraq. ISIS is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq, but a threat to the entire region.

Iraqi Christians at prayer

Iraqi Christians at prayer

Iraqi troops were able to put up little resistance in Mosul and were in fact among the hundreds of thousands of residents fleeing the city. Their prospects of retaking Mosul do not bode well given that they have been unable to reclaim Fallujah after months of fighting. And the government now has even more territory to try to defend as ISIS moves south. Yesterday (11 June), the militants attacked and took the city of Tikrit, which is just 95 miles north of Baghdad. Government forces have, for now, been able to halt the militants’ advance near Samarra – a city just 68 miles north of the capital.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency and in a statement of desperation, urged citizens to take up arms to fight the militants. A full-blown Sunni-Shia civil war is a distinct threat.

Christians Endangered

The expansion of ISIS territory in Iraq and Syria is a threat to the stability of the entire region and leaves the already extremely vulnerable Christian minorities there even more endangered.

Raqqa in Syria is a terrifying picture of what life under ISIS control is like. The militants are imposing strict sharia rules and carrying out brutal penalties including beheadings and crucifixions.

Earlier this year, Christians were given a devastating ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay the humiliating jizya tax and abide by a list of restrictions, or else risk being killed.

ISIS cited the Islamic concept of dhimma, which governs non-Muslims living in conquered Islamic territory. The jizya is part of a collection of rules and regulations imposed on those granteddhimmi status that are intended to mark them out as inferior to Muslims. It is a humiliating tax or tribute that the Quran commands Christians and Jews to pay “with willing submission and while feeling themselves subdued” (Q 9:29). While paying the jizya does guarantee a level of protection for Christians and Jews, it comes at the high price of their accepting a sub-class status in which they are not recognised as citizens and their rights are restricted.

Earlier this month, ISIS confiscated houses and land belonging to Christians in Raqqa; the owners were forced to leave the area. ISIS has turned the main Armenian church in Raqqa into an office for the management of Islamic affairs and the promotion of sharia.

In Iraq, ISIS in its former guise as the Islamic State of Iraq, committed the deadliest-ever attack on Iraqi Christians: the hostage siege at a church in Baghdad in 2010 that left 58 people dead. The horrific incident prompted another wave of Christian emigration, hundreds of thousands having previous fled following an intensification of anti-Christian violence in the wake of the 2003 US-led invasion.

The takeover of Mosul has prompted yet another evacuation of Iraqi Christians from their homes. Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh Plain had previously been considered relatively safe, and many Christians had moved there from Baghdad and Basra. But in a clear statement from ISIS that they are no longer welcome in Mosul, churches were looted and torched as the militants rampaged through the city.

It is feared that this latest exodus could be the final death knell for the Christians of Iraq. Having previously sought refuge in Syria, this is no longer an option, and as ISIS violence threatens the stability of the wider region, Christians have very few places of safety to which to run.

– patrick sookhdeo

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