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Report: Islamists Tear Down Crosses From Assyrian Churches, Tell Christians to Convert or Die

April 16, 2007

From Assyrian International News Agency

An unidentified Islamic group has been threatening the Chrisitan Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs) in the Dora district of Baghdad, a traditionally Assyrian area. The Islamic group issued an ultimatum yesterday to Assyrian families, telling them to leave Christianity and convert to Islam within 24 hours or they would all be killed. The Islamic group also issued a fatwa (a religious edict) to confiscate the property of all Christians, to force Assyrian women to veil themselves, to forbid genuflection (making the sign of the Cross) and the wearing of the Cross.

Earlier the same Islamic group forcefully removed the Cross from the churches of St. John and St. George. An affiliated Islamic group in Northern Iraq occupied the Assyrian monastery of Raban Hormuz.

The persecution of the Assyrians in the Dora district has been relentless:

March 18, 2007: Muslims Force Assyrians in Dora to pay a ‘Protection Tax’

November 8, 2004: Two bombs exploded outside two churches in southern Baghdad quarters of Dora. Three people were dead and around 40 to 50 injured.

November 2, 2004 An unidentified group surprised and fired upon an Assyrian family in Dora, Meekanik quarters, south of Baghdad. ‘Alaa’ Andrawis (b. 1965), his wife Evelyn Malkizdaq, and their 10-years old son were shot at while in their car.

October 21, 2004 Layla Elias Kakka Essa (aged 30s), a translator in the Assyrian quarters of Dora, was shot and killed.

October 16, 2004 The St. Joseph church in Dora is hit with a bomb, along with four other churches in Baghdad.

June 11, 2004: Four masked men entered the Assyrian Christian district of Dora in a civilian sedan and opened fire on the Assyrians, killing four and wounding several others.

March 22, 2004: An Assyrian Elderly couple, Ameejon Barama and his wife Jewded, were brutally murdered in their own home in Dora. The husband’s throat was slashed and the wife was struck repeatedly to the head.

See also:
Asia News: Islamic group in Baghdad: “Get rid of the cross or we will burn your Churches”

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