Iraq: Islamic groups impose tax on Christians

 Islamic militias in Baghdad and Mosul have ordered Christians to pay the jizya, a poll tax which dates back to the period of the Ottoman Empire Asia News reports. Under the tax, non-Muslims are allowed to practise their religion under Muslim protection. They are ordered "not to reveal their activities" to Iraqi authorities and the taxes they pay are given in alms to the Mosques. Thousands of non Muslims are also being forced to leave their homes by letters assigning their houses to Muslim citizens. The initiative seems to be part of a general campaign to Islamafy the entire country, which begun with the imposition of the veil on all women. The website was the first to carry news of this development; it has eye witness accounts of Iraqi refugees in Erbil, in the semi autonomous region of Kurdistan. The fourth anniversary of the US military's arrival in Baghdad, four years ago today, brings with it little improvement in the conditions of the ever decreasing Christian community. Bomb attacks, kidnappings and threats continue to mark the daily existence of those few who have not been able to leave.

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