By BosNewsLife Senior Special Correspondent Eric Leijenaar in the Netherlands with reporting from Iraq and Syria
(ADDS BOMB BLASTS IN KIRKUK) AMSTERDAM/BAGHDAD/DAMASCUS (BosNewsLife) -- Militants have crucified Christians in Iraq, including converts from Islam and people involved in "mixed marriages," a senior Dutch parliamentarian has established.
Joel Voordewind of the governing coalitionâ€™s junior party 'ChristianUnie', or ChristianUnion (CU), said he managed to confirm information received from a "trustworthy source" at the United Nations about the recent crucifixions, according to declarations obtained by BosNewsLife Monday, July 16.
Several Iraqi Christians "are nailed to a cross and their arms are tied up with ropes. The ropes are put on fire," Voordewind said.
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 â€œin most cases Christian converts who abandoned Islam or people who, religiously speaking, are involved in mixed marriages."
He did not say how many Christians have been crucified in recent weeks and months, apparently not to pre-empty an official report expected shortly. The politician was due to present his findings to Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen, a Christian Democrat, within the few next days.
It comes as thousands of Christians are reportedly fleeing Iraq because of ongoing threats and violence directed against them. In the latest major incidents, in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, killed over 80 people died Monday, July 16, in bomb blasts. Most of the casualties were caused by a suicide truck bomb which detonated near the offices of the Kurdish political party led by Iraq's President Jalal Talabani.
Voordewind was part of a Dutch delegation visiting several countries in the Middle East, including Syria, where several left-leaning parliamentarians held talks with the militant group Hamas. Those discussions led to tensions in the Netherlands as the centrist government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende views Hamas as a "terrorist organization."
Following recommendations from the European Union, the cabinet cut-off ties with Hamas. The group currently controls the Gaza Strip in the Palestinian territories bordering Israel, while the internationally recognized Palestinian government is in charge of the West Bank.
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