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Iraq’s first Christian militia takes stand against Qaeda


September 8th, 2008

TEL ASQUF, Iraq, Sept 8, 2008 (AFP) - With Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders, Iraq’s first Christian militia enforces one simple rule on the border of this little village. ‘Anyone not from Tel Asquf, is banned.’
This village in northern Iraq’s flashpoint Nineveh province, frequently targeted by Sunni and Shiite fighters, has now taken security into its own hands with armed patrols and checkpoints at the village’s four entrances.
The village borders are marked with a sand barrier built by residents in a bid to stop car bombs breaching the perimeter as they did in 2007 when two such attacks within six months rocked the village and spurred the local authorities into action.

‘The terrorists want to kill us because we are Christian. If we don’t defend ourselves, who will?’ asked militia group leader Abu Nataq.

Associated with the ‘Crusader’ invaders and regarded as well-off, they are often victims of sectarian violence, killings and kidnappings at the hands of both Sunni and Shiite Islamists, as well as criminal gangs.

Iraq’s Christians, with the Chaldean rite by far the largest community, were said to number as many as 800,000 before the 2003 US-led invasion, but this number is believed to have halved as people fled the brutal sectarian violence.

Neighbourhood militias have become popular in Iraq, particularly with the rise of the Awakening groups — former Sunni insurgents who switched sides and are now paid by US forces to battle Al-Qaeda.

But Iraq’s Christian population, concentrated in Nineveh and its capital city Mosul, had not until now organised its own fighting force to protect against attack.

‘We used to pay ‘jezya’ (protection money) and they would leave us alone,’ Nataq said in reference to a tax levied on the Christian community by Al-Qaeda in exchange for peace.
The term harks back to the seventh century, a period of great expansion in Islam when Christians and Jews were forced to pay taxes to the majority Muslims.

But Tel Asquf’s villagers rebelled against the payments and called on the help of the Kurdish forces of Arbil, the nearby capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region, after judging that its own provincial capital, Mosul, had too large a Sunni population.

‘I prefer the help of Kurdistan, of the peshmerga,’ Nataq said. The Kurdish fighters now controlled the roads leading to the village and claimed large swathes of the region, much to the fury of Mosul’s Arab population, he added.

The peshmerga provide Kalashnikov rifles and radios to the 200 Christian militiamen who receive around 200 dollars (140 euros) a month from the Arbil administration to protect the 8,000 inhabitants of the village.

Since the arrangement was introduced around 10 months ago, the Christian militiamen have never had to use their weapons, ‘because the peshmerga form the first line of defence,’ Nataq said.

Christian fighters are stationed at the village’s entry points and mobile teams patrol inside the inner cordon, especially around the Chaldean Catholic church of St George, which, like many of Iraq’s churches, has paid a heavy price in this blood-soaked land.

On January 6, a series of bombs exploded outside churches and a monastery in Mosul, in an apparently coordinated attack that wounded four people and damaged buildings, as Christians celebrated Epiphany.
In March, the body of Iraq’s kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was found near Mosul, prompting the condemnation of Pope Benedict XVI and US President George W. Bush.

Along with thousands of other Christians, the archbishop used to pay the ‘jezya’ but decided to stop. Some believe that this was the reason for his kidnapping and murder.

Hani Petrus, 45, fled to Tel Asquf seeking refuge from the bloodshed, like dozens of other Christians from Baghdad, Samarra and Basra.

‘I am a school headmaster but I used to work in a petrol station in Mosul. The terrorists used to come and serve themselves petrol for free and take money from the cash register: 200 to 300 dollars (140 euros to 210 euros) each time,’ he said.
‘In Mosul, my children were not able to play in the street. I didn’t want to let my 12-year-old daughter go to school. I was so worried about her,’ he said, adding that his family was part of four families crammed in one house.
‘We are virtually living on top of one another and everything is expensive because the shopkeepers know that we cannot make the trip into Mosul,’ he said.

Salem Samoon Jbo used to sell liquor in Basra but fled north, first to Baghdad and then Tel Asquf, after Shiite extremists ordered he close the store in 2006. They had learned that he was a part-time bomb disposal expert for the US forces.

Now the 46-year-old stands guard outside one of the entrances to the St. George church.
He works seven days — alternating two hours on duty and two hours off — then takes two weeks off.

‘There isn’t any other work here. There is nothing else to do. I don’t like guns but I have no other choice,’ he said.

‘In any case, it is better than the work in Basra. There, I worked for the Americans and was a target for the Shiite militias. I worked as a bomb disposal expert.’

http://www.arabtimesonline.com/client/pagesdetails.asp?nid=21942&ccid=18

 

 

 

 


 


 



 

 





Writer Kennet Timmerman is one of the few American journalists who has shown ongoiing informed interest in the plight of the Christians of Iraq. His various articles about their situation attest to this fact. On his website he prompts visitors to submit the following petiotion to the President Bush and the UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki Moon


 

Help Iraq's
Embattled Christian

Tell Pres. Bush and UN Sec.Gen. Ban Ki Moon

that

"Christians are Facing extinction" in Iraq


Though the Security situation in Iraq has improved to the point that allows the Iraqi government and the US negotiate the withdrawal of the American troops from that county the systematic persecution of the Christians of Iraq by the Jihadists who are determent to impose on them the subservient Muslim Dhimmi statue or to drive them out of the country continues. see:
Iraqi Christians Face New Persecution


Click on the Photo

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Eilool = September

Iraq’s first Christian militia takes stand against Qaeda Sept. 8, 08

Sion Ebrahami: I was taken hostage by the moujahadeen Sept. 4, 08

Iraqi media ignore kidnapping of Christians, archbishop says
Sept. 4, 08

Ab = August

Relations Sour Between Kurds and Central Government August 31, 08

A Half Million Iraqi Christians Among Refugees August 28, 08

Iraq archbishop speaks out as abductions increase August 28, 08

Kirkuk, the Little Iraq August 25, 08

Protest on the highest mountains in Australia in remembrance of the Assyrian Genocide August 25, 08

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black August 21, 08

Iraqi Christians: Round Trip to Death Street August 21, 08

In Kirkuk Christian and Muslim Leaders Pray for Peace in the Country August 20, 08

Torture Chamber, Bodies Found At Mosque in Iraq August 20, 08

Paul Batou at the ALLISON COREY Gallery August 19, 08

Ancient Assyrian Monumental Art Work Heralded at MFA Boston
August 16, 08

Famed singers celebrate the Assyrian culture at Gallo Center
August 15, 08

The Only Christian Assyrian member of Iraqi parliament touring U.S. August 14, 08

Iraq Press Roundup about Kurds and Kirkuk August 14, 08

COMMEMORATION OF THE ASSYRIAN GENOCIDE AND MARTYRS DAY in Australia August 12, 08

Assyrian community in Canada marks Genocide Awareness Day
August 12, 08

Tammuz = July

Climbing the Rigi mountain to remember the Assyrian, Armenian and Greek Genocide of 1915 July 22, 08

Christians from Iraq need our help July 22, 08

Iraq's Shabak Accuse Kurds of Killing Their Leader July 16, 08

Western Christians can ‘Save Iraq Christians July 16, 08

Iraq's Mosul Struggles to Shake Off Al Qaeda July 16, 08

Iraqi minorities' long wait for freedom July 16, 08

YouTube: Simo Parpola about Assyrians; and their present plight
July 12, 08

Iraq's Persecution of Christians Continues to Spiral out of Control
July 11, 08

Iraqi Christians Face New Persecution July 11, 08

Assyrians: A Minority Between Genocide and Fear of Terrorism July 3, 08

Iraq: Islamist group threatens churches in Mosul
July 3, 08

Khziran = June

A Difficult Place for Christians: Believers in Iraq June 27, 08

EU Countries Move to Stop Flood of Iraqi Refugees June 26, 08

For Iraqi Christians, Money Bought Survival June 26, 08

Second Mysterious Fire Destroys Catholic Church in Cairo June 25,08

Christians in the Middle East Live'As in a Cage' June 24, 08

Another Surge Needed: Support the Christians in Iraq June 24, 08

‘Little Baghdad’ thrives in Sweden Sodertalje has taken in more Iraqis than U.S., is but mood changing June 24, 08

Muslims Attack Christian Homes and Businesses in Cairo June 23, 08

Informal meeting of the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East June 22, 08

Conversations with the Assyrians of Mardin June 22, 08

IRAQ RELIGIOUS KILLINGS June 14, 08
By Hon. David Clarke, At the Parliament of New South Wales Australia

European Parliament Conference Highlights Assyrian Suffering in Iraq June 14, 08

Dora Today June 12, 08

“Why Arab countries need them ? ” June 12, 08

The Latest Islamic Suicide Attack June 11, 08

Egyptian Writer: It's 'Open Season' On Egypt's Christian Copts June 10, 08

Rosie Malek-Yonan Joins Cast of General Hospital June 09, 08

Assyrian woman gets heart surgery at Mercy Gilbert June 08, 08

30 minute film by German TV Channel about the plight of Iraq's Chrisitan Assyrans June 07, 08

Ayaar=May

Turkey revives stalled $32 billion GAP dam and irrigation project.
May 31, 08

Archbishop Louis Sako: Do Not Abandon Iraqi Christians May 31, 08

ABOUT THE ASSYRIA COUNCIL OF EUROPE May 29, 08

Iraqi Christians Seek Refuge in Germany May 28, 08

Iraqi Christians Warn of 'New Catastrophe for Humanity' May 27, 08

Religious Frictions In The Muslim World May 27, 08

Stockholm Demonstration Calls Attention to Plight of Iraqi Assyrians
May 25, 08

Forbidden Pleasures Return to Mosul As Al-Qaeda Melts Away May 25, 08

Experts urge power-sharing for Kirkuk May 24, 08

Childhood Of Poverty Led To Acts Of Generosity May 24, 08

Ashur T.V. program Saturday May 24, 08

Cardinal: Iraqi Christians Shouldn't Get Special Visa Privilege May. 21, 2008

California-based diocese of the Assyrian Apostolic Church enters full communion with the Catholic Church May 17, 08

Pressures to Annex Iraq's Northern Christian Villages to Kurdish Areas May 16, 08

US Senate Armed Services Committee Recognizes the Plight of Displaced Iraqis May 16, 08

KURDISH SCHOLAR REFUTEs KURDS history claims ! May 15, 08

US House Approves $10 Million in Aid for Iraq's Christians May 15, 08

Muslims in Pakistan Want Christian Doctor Hanged for 'Blasphemy' May 15, 08

Australia's AUA Meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs May 14, 08

Iraqi Shebeks Snub Kurdish Move to Annex Their Areas May 9, 08

In Iran, Covert Christian Converts Live With Secrecy and Fear May 8, 08

_ Journalists in Iraq's Kurdish North Face Increasing Danger May 7, 08

Ethnic and religious minorities in the Iraq of today May 7, 08

Christian Assyrians Face Extinction in Northern Iraq May 6, 08

The Assyrian Lobbying group of EU Parliament Gathers Momentum
May 5, 08

Kurdish Authorities demand that the Assyrian homeland in Northern Iraq be annexed to kurdistan May 5, 08

Outside European Parliament, Assyrians Demand Safety for Assyrians in Iraq April 19, 08

Helping the Displaced in Karmaless Iraq April 19, 08


Dutch MPs Visit North Iraq, Call for Protection for Assyrians
April 18, 08

Iraq's Yezidis Say Kurds Oppressing Them and Forcing Them to Flee
April 18, 08

Christian Iraqis Can't Leave Jordan April 13, 08

Swedish Mayor Calls for Solution to Iraq Refugee Crisis April 13, 08

Assyrians Celebrate New Year In Syria April 13, 08

Senator Lieberman: Do a mitzvah (good deed) for Hanukkah-save Iraqi Christian allies April 12, 08

A legacy for the president: Iraqi Christians April 12, 08

Murder of Syrian Orthodox Priest in Iraq April 12, 08

Iraqi Christians Stuck in Jordan April 12, 08

Journalist Asks Bush to Protect Iraqi Christians April 11, 08

Senators Urge Bush to Appoint Official for Iraq Refugee Policy
April 9, 08

Report of the Dutch MP who Visited Assyrians in Iraq April 9, 08

Swedish Mayor to Explain to U.S. Why His City is Inundated By Assyrians April 9, 08

Targeting Iraq’s Christians April 8, 08

Sweden's Insecure Asylum Testing April 8, 08

Seven Iraqi Christian Orphans Reunited With Relatives in Germany
April 7, 08

Iraqi Christians: Exodus, Ethnic Cleansing and Identity Annihilation
April 7, 08

Sorrow, defiance, Iraq Christians bury slain priest April 6, 08

Dutch Parliament Member Advocates for Protection of Assyrian
Christians in Iraq
April 6, 08

Were Assyrian rulers the forefathers of today's CEOs? April 6, 08

An Invitation to Iraq Action Days, April 14-16, 2008 April 5, 08

A Battle for Land in Northern Iraq April 5, 08

Assyrian priest killed in Baghdad April 5, 08

Assyrian New Year celebrations in Australia a huge success!
April 3, 08

A bit of Mesopotamia in Sweden April 3, 08

Addar = March

Assyrian Clay tablet holds clue to asteroid mystery March 31, 08

The Book of Esther March 31, 08

Press conference about the grim reality facing Iraqi Christians
March 29, 08

Peaceful Protest in Bakhdida, Bartalah, and Karmales
March 28, 08

The pearl of Mardin: Deyrulzafaran Monastery March 27, 08

Sweden feels strain of refugees March 24, 08

Assyrian Protest in the City of Bern March 23, 08

Suspect in kidnapping Archbishop Paulous Rahho has Been Arrested March 23, 08

Polish Researcher Studying Assyrians March 22, 08

Five Years Later, Where are the Christians in Iraq? March 21, 08

Easter Special Ashur TV Program March 21, 08

Pope 'refused audience for Rice' March 20, 08

Assyrians Protest in Sweden against the decimation of their people
March 20, 08

Genocide Unfolding: Death of a Catholic Assyrian Archbishop in Iraq March 18, 08

Christians in Flight in the Middle East March 17, 08

Lieutenant governor of Nineveh Intelligence information available about kidnapping, many arrested March 17, 08

Chicago Skies Spark as Assyrian Stars Come Out to Sing
March 17, 08

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Needs Lesson in History
March 16, 08

Murder of Chaldean Archbishop Provokes Outrage
March 15, 08

Funeral of Archbishop Paulous Faraj Raho Pictures
March 15, 08

Grieving Christians bury Iraqi archbishop March 14, 08

Iraqi Christians Have No Militias to Protect Them
March 14, 08

Besieged Iraqi Christians Need A Safe Haven, Supporters Say March 14, 08

Death Comes for an Iraqi Archbishop March 13, 08

Iraqi Christians' long history March 13, 08

Assyrian Coalition Condemns Murder of Chaldean Archbishop March 13, 08

Christians Besieged in Iraq March 13, 08

US Human Rights Report Affirms Targeting of Iraq's Assyrians March 13, 08

Letter to the Scretary of State Condoleezza Rice
March 13, 08

Kidnapped Iraqi archbishop dead March 13, 08

Pope Benedict to Seek U.S. Help for Iraqi Christians
March 13, 08

TURKEY’S DARK SECRET RESONATING THE AIRWAVES, Turkish Hackers’ Retaliation March 12, 08

Swedish Embassy in Syria Accused of Taking Bribes From Iraqi Refugees March 11, 08

Iraq: Refuge Lost; Archbishop Kidnapped March 11, 08

Candle-Light Vigil to Remember Looting of Iraqi Museum
March 9, 08

The Assyrian Journalist has been released March 8, 08

Iraqis Demand Protection From Crime March 8, 08

Iraqi Christians are defenseless, says top clergyman
March 7, 08

Violence escalates for Christians in Iraq March 6, 08

Why No U.S. Outcry Over the Kidnapping of Archbishop Rahho? March 5, 08

Iraqi Christians Cling to Last, Waning Refuges March 6, 08

Iraq PM Orders Action Over Kidnapped Archbishop
March 4, 08

Sons of Iraq: A Grassroots Surge Against Al-Qaeda
March 3, 08

IRAQ: KIDNAPPERS DEMAND HUGE RANSOM FOR BISHOP March 3, 08

Muslim Leaders Also Call for the Release of the Bishop of Mosul March 3, 08

Concerns Grow for Safety of Kidnapped Archbishop in Iraq March 2, 08

Iraqi Police Search for Abducted Christian Archbishop
March 2, 08

Assyria Rise Up - First Day Of Spring. March 2, 08

UN Calls for Iraqi Action After Archbishop Seized
March 1, 08

Eshvath = February

Iran's Exodus of Minorities Worries Leaders Of Fading Faiths Feb 29, 2008

Iraqi Christians: Flight to Freedom Feb 29, 2008

Fifth Anniversary Global Candlelight Vigil of the Looting of Iraq Museum. Feb 29, 2008

Ashur t. v. Interview with Mr. Sargon Lazar, of Foreign the Assyrian Democratic Movement Feb 29, 2008

Gunmen kidnap Iraqi Chaldean Catholic archbishop
Feb 29, 2008

Explosion in front of a liquor store in Baghdeda within Nineveh plain Feb 26, 2008

Assyrian Women Union in Erbil helped the "Diasplaced
Feb 26, 2008

Christian Council formation in Kirkuk Feb 26, 2008

Endangered Gaza Christians Mull Flight Amid Deaths, Firebombs Feb 26, 2008

Companions in suffering, An Interview with Thea Halo
Feb 25, 2008

Bishop of Arbil decries the Turkish attack on Christian Assyrian villages Feb 24, 2008

Web Site Targets Assyrian and Other Minorities in Turkey
Feb 24, 2008

Turkey Bombs Assyrian Village in Northern Iraq
Feb 24, 2008

Kirkuk: Christians together to make their voice heard
Feb 22, 2008

Kurdish Authorities Arrest Assyrian Deacon in North Iraq
Feb 22, 2008

Turkish Troops Enter North Iraq Feb 22, 2008

A Christian wedding in the Assyrian town Feb 21, 2008

Scholar Warns of the Danger of Dwindling Assyrians, Christians in the Middle East Feb 19, 2008

Scholar Warns of the Danger of Dwindling Assyrians, Christians in the Middle East Feb 19, 2008

The village in Gilgamesh- film is being plundered
Feb 17, 2008

CAPNI's humanitarian assistance for displaced Christians in northern Iraq Feb 17, 2008

UN Hints At Iraq Refugee Returns Feb 17, 2008

Petition From the Russian Assyrians to Iraq FM
Feb 15, 2008

State Dept. Press Briefing, Part IV, so what happened to the Christians? Feb 15, 2008

UN Seeks Help for 'Desperate' Iraqi Refugees Feb 14, 2008

You Tube Assyrian Videos up dated Feb 12, 2008

Egypt recognizes Christian converts Feb 12, o8

Archbishop: Iraqi Christians Not Losing Hope Feb 12, o8

Mercy Corps Launches Work in Syria to Assist Iraqi Refugees Feb 12, o8

Compensation for the Confiscated Assyrian Land in Ankawa not Enough Feb 11, o8

The Forced Assimilation Policy of Turkey Continues
Feb 11, o8

Churches in Iraq Becoming Targets for Attacks Feb 8, o8

Kirkuk Referendum and Hermaphrodites Feb 7, o8

For Christians Returning From Syria to Iraq is Fraught with Danger Feb 3, o8

New Star - Prince of Assyria Feb 3, o8

New Defense Authorization Act, will Help More Iraqi Refugees Feb 3, o8

Mess O’Potamian Art at Iraq's Museum Feb 3, o8

 

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