Thousands of Iraqi Christians have found threats like this under their front doors or stoops, in stairwells or shoved through their courtyard gates: “Be informed that we will cut your heads and leave your dead bodies with no organs and no heads in your stores and houses. We know your houses and we know your family. We will kill you one after the other. Depart the Muslim areas.”
Others have received text messages in Arabic like this one sent to a Christian family in Mosul earlier this month: “When your head is put over your back [an expression describing how sheep are slaughtered] then there is no chance to feel sorry for you. It will be too late. Allah is the supporter who gives swords to his warriors.”
Christians sometimes receive the threats while shopping in the market or repairing a carburetor. They are often personal and usually signed by “al-Mujahideen,” “al-Jihad,” “al-Tawheed company” or other militant groups, splinters of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Few ever identify who is behind the threats but all reach the same conclusion, as one recipient put it: “To stay is to be killed.”
As a result, over 2 million Iraqis—about 25 percent of them identified as Christians—have fled to neighboring countries, mostly Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Judging from extensive conversations with Iraqis living in Jordan and Syria, few want to go home. While at least 40,000 Iraqis have been killed in fighting, random violence, and terrorism since the U.S. invasion in 2003, these refugees are the Iraq War’s living casualties—psychologically damaged from the prolonged terrorism, afraid of the next text message or the letter on the doormat and helpless before a fearful future.
To read the rest of this excellent article in the November 29/December 6, 2008 edition of WORLD Magazine, click here. Then let us know your reaction to the plight of Iraq's Christian population by leaving a comment.