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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Muslim Iraqis Protest against Christian Persecution

Newsreader Dima Sadeq on Lebanese TV wearing a T-shirt in solidarity with persecuted Iraqi Christians


Two anchorwomen in the Middle East have protested against the persecution of Christians in their countries on TV while reading the news.

The Muslim journalist Dalia AlAqidi, who works for the Iraqi TV network Sumaria, wore a cross around her neck on air and launched a verbal attack from the TV against "Islamist fascism", in support of Christians in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

AlAqidi made this gesture not only because of the disappearance from Mosul - which since June is in the hands of jihadists - of a Christian community that numbered in the thousands of faithful, but also for "the good of the whole country." She believes the exodus of Christians to be bad for everyone: "Christians are part of the indigenous people of this land and we cannot go on without them."
Dalia defended wearing the Cross, which is forbidden in Mosul, and has shrugged off threats already aimed at her. Writing on her Facebook page, she said she already received calls from Saudi Arabia.
AlAqidi says that this is not a "religious initiative but an uprising against anyone trying to obliterate civilisation...If I do not speak and others remain silent, then, as the saying goes, 'He who is silent about justice is a mute devil.'"

Other - very few - Muslim Iraqis have taken risks by defending the Christians from persecution by the Islamic State. Still others have been killed for not pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.

The Islamic State jihadists, after having settled in Mosul and declared the caliphate, have started a systematic persecution of Christians, which culminated in their expulsion from their homes.

While the large majority of Muslims and Muslim leaders - like the grand imam of Al Azhar mosque in Egypt - have remained silent, a small group of Muslims have protested, paying with their lives.

Sixteen of them, the news of whose killing was released about a month after the capture of Mosul by the Islamic state, were killed according to the UN on 12-14 June. Among them are the imam of Mosul’s Great Nurridin Mosque, Muhammad al-Mansuri, and that of the mosque of the Prophet Jonah, Abdel-Salam Muhammad.
Bielefeldt, a professor of human rights and human rights politics at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg in Germany, said the purpose of such executions was to silence critics of extreme movements. Those who oppose the movement, he said, “don’t dare to say this publicly because it can be a matter of life and death.”

The executions apparently have had an effect. A resident of Mosul who once worked at the Great Nurridin Mosque told McClatchy on Saturday that the Islamic State is now dictating the content of Friday sermons in Mosul. The resident cannot be identified for security reasons.
More recently Mahmoud Al ‘Asali, a Muslim law professor who lectures on pedagogy at the University of Mosul, was killed after speaking out against the persecution of Christians, against the looting and burning of Mosul Christians' properties and possessions.
He refused to keep silent about the violence agaist Mosul’s Christians who are forced to choose between converting to the Muslim faith, paying the jizyah (the Islamic tax for non-Muslims) or fleeing...

Professor Ali ‘Asali knew what he was risking: everyone in Mosul knows that in Raqqa - the Syrian city which the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant seized last year – there are many human rights activists who have paid for their opposition to ISIS’ acts of intolerance with their own lives. But Al ‘Asali was nevertheless unable to stand by in silence.
Christians in Mosul have been given the ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay the jizyah or be put to death. Those who decide to flee are not allowed to take anything with them, except the clothes they are wearing. Christians who are not healthy enough to flee Mosul must renounce their faith for Islam "just to stay alive".

The jizyah tax for non-Muslims - that all Christians have to pay if they want to stay alive and remain or return to Mosul - is 450 dollars per month, "which is an impossible sum for anyone living in Northern Iraq to pay".

It's unspeakable that the West ignores the Christian genocide in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

The jihadists of the Islamic state - reminiscent of Nazi methods - mark Christian homes in Mosul with the Arabic letter "N" which stands for the word "Nasrani", meaning "Christian" in Arabic.

Some Muslims have launched the “I am Iraqi, I am Christian” campaign in solidarity with Christians and in response to the letter "N" written on the walls of Christian homes. A group of them turned up outside the Chaldean Church of St. George in Baghdad with a banner displaying that slogan, and posted a picture on Facebook.

Joining this initiative and inspired by her Iraqi colleague Dalia AlAqidi, Dima Sadeq, of the Lebanese TV network LBCI, appeared on television wearing a t-shirt printed with the Arabic letter "ن" (corresponding to the "N" - pronounced Noon - of the word "Nasrani", Christian) used to mark the Christian homes. Before beginning to read the newscast, Sadeq said: "From Mosul to Beirut, we are all Christians."

Subsequently, the LBCI has turned its logo into Lb ن and launched the hashtag # Lb ن to kick off a campaign that has persuaded thousands of Twitter and Facebook users to replace their profile images and avatars with a picture of a yellow “ن” in a black background, the "brand" of Iraqi Christians. "The darkest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis" Dalia AlAqidi said, paraphrasing Dante Alighieri. "We will not allow", Sadeq echoed, "the walls to become the place on which letters of exile are drawn."

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