Persecution of Ex-Muslims (Iraq)

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False rumours create hatred and suspicion against convert couple. Persecuted and now stranded in Jordan[edit]

When his year and a half of required service was finished, Amer so liked the villagers and his work among them that he borrowed five million Iraqi dinars (nearly $3,000) to buy and furnish a small home-operated clinic there. But to the couple's dismay, several of their own relatives became jealous of their apparent new prosperity. The false accusations spread against them were all linked deliberately to their rumored Christian faith.

According to these relatives, the couple had been paid five million Iraqi dinars by a church to become Christians, their home-clinic was filled with crosses and pictures of Jesus, and they were getting wages in U.S. dollars for giving lessons on Christianity at a church.
. . .
By March 2000, the rumors had spread so extensively that the head of their tribe called together the elders from across the country to put the couple on trial. Without warning, the couple was picked up and escorted from the village to Amer's father's home. From 8 o'clock one evening until 5 a.m., Amer stood alone before some 15 leaders. They interrogated him relentlessly regarding his religious beliefs, calling upon various relatives and witnesses from the village to state their accusations against him.
. . .
"I tried to convince them logically that I wasn't really a Christian," Amer said. "And just like Peter, as the cock crowed that dawn, I denied Jesus." The next morning his wife was questioned separately, and as agreed hastily beforehand with Amer, she also denied being a Christian. Both knew that if they did not renounce their faith publicly, the tribe would be obliged to order them killed, or at least arrested.

Although the tribal elders appeared convinced by their denials, they ordered Amer to confirm his identity as a Muslim by covering his wife's head, buying a copy of the Qur'an, hanging posters of verses from the Qur'an in their home, performing his ritual prayers five times a day, and using Islamic quotations in his everyday conversations.

But just a week later, when the two were away from the village for a few hours visiting their families, their home-clinic was broken into, all the windows and doors were smashed and the furnishings stolen. Unnerved, the young couple found the situation unbearable, and Amer developed a peptic ulcer from the anxiety. Two weeks later, they left the village and moved back to the city with his family.
. . .
In the quietness, Amer understood that he must put himself and his wife in God's hands, and try to leave Iraq. A few weeks later, after they managed to obtain legal passports, they crossed the border into Jordan. Just days later, on July 1, 2000, the Iraqi government issued a new decree prohibiting dentists from leaving the country for the next four years.

"We didn't get to say goodbye to our families," Amer said, admitting how hard that was for him, since he has seven younger siblings and his mother is not well. "My father is very wounded that we fled, and he thinks I'm making a big mistake."
Iraqi Convert Couple Stranded in Jordan
Compass Direct, July 01, 2001

Christian convert who had been threatened by his relatives and other Muslims and twice arrested for his beliefs, shot and killed after refusing to return to Islam[edit]

Ziwar Muhammad Ismaíil, a Christian convert from a Muslim background, has been shot and killed for his faith, according to Middle East Concern. The tragedy seems to be part of a growing hostility towards Christians in the country as the threat of military action increases.

Ziwar, who worked as a taxi driver in Zakho, in the Kurdish authority area of North Iraq, was shot by Abd al-Karim Abd al-Salam at a taxi rank early in the morning on 17 February. Abd al-Salam approached Ziwar and challenged him to return to Islam. When Ziwar refused he opened fire with an automatic rifle.

Other taxi drivers gave chase, apprehending Abd al-Salam and handing him over to the police. Abd al-Salam claims that the Islamic prophet Muhammad appeared to him in a dream and told him to kill Ziwar.

Ziwar converted to Christianity seven years ago. Unlike many converts from Islam Ziwar had been quite open about his faith and, as a result, he had been threatened by his relatives and other Muslims and twice arrested, though not charged. Ziwar leaves a widow and five children.

All the major schools of Islamic law (Shariíah) agree that Muslim men who convert from Islam should be put to death, their marriages annulled, and their children and property taken away. This tradition is upheld and taught by many Muslim religious leaders around the world.
Christian convert killed in Iraq
Ekklesia, February 26, 2003

Christians, including converts from Islam and people involved in mixed-faith marriages, being crucified by Muslims[edit]

Christians in Iraq, including converts from Islam and people involved in mixed-faith marriages, are being crucified by Muslim terrorists, according to a Dutch member of Parliament studying the war-torn country.

Several Iraqi Christians "are nailed to a cross and their arms are tied up with ropes. The ropes are put on fire," Joel Voordewind told BosNewsLife, an online news agency focusing on Christians and Jews in difficult circumstances.

According to the site, Voordewind described how a person, who "survived" a crucifixion, "even showed holes in his hands," apparently from nails. Voordewind said victims of the crucifixions are "in most cases Christian converts who abandoned Islam or people who, religiously speaking, are involved in mixed marriages."

Son murders his father (a former Interpreter for the United States Military) for converting to Christianity. Many Iraqis, including civilians and senior clerics, say he deserved to be killed in accordance with Islam[edit]

The murder of a former interpreter for the United States military who allegedly abandoned his Muslim faith has revealed the strain facing Iraq’s fragile laws, where a respect for Islamic creed can conflict with a duty to protect human rights.

Hameed al-Daraji was shot dead on Wednesday, June 14, in the Sunni Arab city of Samarra, north of Baghdad. According to security officials, his son confessed in custody that he had killed his father over his conversion to Christianity.

Another son and a nephew are wanted over the attack. All three men are suspected of links to a domestic insurgent group allied to al-Qaeda.

Hostility towards converts is widespread in Iraq, as in much of the Muslim world. While the country’s laws guarantee the rights of its sizeable religious minorities, they also yield to Islam as an ultimate authority.

Many Iraqis – including residents of Samarra and Baghdad and senior clerics from the Sunni and Shia sects – said the former interpreter deserved to be killed in accordance with strict Islamic rules against conversion.

Some said they approved of the motive behind the murder, but felt it ought to have been carried out by the man’s tribe, rather than his son.

Several religious and political leaders said they could not condemn the killing of converts as it was sanctioned by Islamic scripture.
Iraqi interpreter’s killing pits faith against law
beer Mohamed and Neil Arun, Middle East Online, July 14, 2010