“They told me I should become a Muslim like the other Shias in that area. They held my hands in the fire and beat me with sticks and rifle butts calling me an infidel.”
The jizya is also being collected, as per Qur’an 9:29.
Islamic Tolerance Alert: “Iraqi Christians flee gunmen for sanctuary of monastery,” by Angus McDowall in the Telegraph, December 21 (thanks to Kasper):
In peaceful times, the cool mountain air and breathtaking views afforded by the ancient monastery of Mar Matti provided a congenial day trip for the local people. Clinging to the upper slopes of a steep escarpment, its ancient stone walls echoed to the hushed tones of Aramaic hymns and the Orthodox mass.
But the tranquil life of Mar Matti’s black-robed monks has been shattered by the arrival of hundreds of Christians fleeing a campaign of persecution in Mosul, just 20 miles away.
Their homes raided, their priests attacked and their relatives murdered, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians have become the latest victims of violence in the city, once the most cosmopolitan in Iraq.
“First they came against the Kurds, then against the Yazidis and now they have come for the Christians,” said Jalal Mansour, 43, a former marble worker who fled to Mar Matti with his family after they were threatened by gunmen. “My uncle, an old man, was killed just because of his faith.” […]
Christians believe they attracted the ire of the vigilante groups that roam Mosul’s dangerous streets when they considered a plan to take up arms themselves. The people of the city have also come under attack from al-Qaeda fighters.
The scent of fear has now spread to Mar Matti, where guards armed with assault rifles lolled against a crude drawing of a dove on the concrete wall of a gatehouse. […]
“Ten days ago my sister-in-law’s family was attacked: three of them were shot dead,” said one of them, a 25-year-old market stall holder from Mosul who would not give his name in case of reprisals. “Other relatives have been kidnapped and forced to pay the tax levelled by the Muslim empire on non-believers.” […]
“It’s very bad for all Iraqis, but Christians suffered the most,” said the priest, Father Sabri al-Magdassy. “The lack of strong political parties or a tribal system like the other ethnic groups means we have nobody who can defend our rights. We only have the church.” […]
Many of them had been forced to leave all their belongings behind. A young man with an intense, haunted stare, said he had been kidnapped in Baghdad by the Mahdi Army and tortured for seven days.
“They told me I should become a Muslim like the other Shias in that area,” he said. “They held my hands in the fire and beat me with sticks and rifle butts calling me an infidel. Finally my family negotiated my release for Â£7,000 and they freed me. When the police came I was too scared to tell them who took me, so I left and came to Irbil.”