Iraq Insurgents Threaten Attacks Against Christian Women

Thursday, December 14, 2006

By BosNewsLife News Center

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife) -- Tensions were rising Wednesday, December 13, in the Iraqi town of Mosul after an Islamic group reportedly threatened to attack Christian female students.

The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) with website said flyers were distributed at Mosul University containing messages against Assyrian students, who are also known as Chaldean and Syriacs.

AINA quoted witnesses as saying that University security personnel observed the men placing the flyers but did not intervene. It was not immediately clear which group was responsible for the action.

The flyers reportedly warned Christian Assyrian students that "in cases where non-Muslims do not conform to wearing the Hijab," the head cover for women, and "are not conservative with their attire in accordance with the Islamic way, violators will have Sharia", or Islamic Law, "applied to them."


The kind of punishment was not mentioned, but several human rights groups have reported violence against Christian women in Iraq.

It comes at a time when the Assyrian clergy is already on edge following several kidnappings of church leaders. Assyrian officials have expressed concern that "targeting students is a new phase of harassment and intimidation of the Assyrian community by Islamists," AINA said.

Covering reports of religious tensions has however become increasingly difficult for journalists in Mosul. On Wednesday, December 13, a funeral was underway for a cameraman working for The Associated Press (AP) news agency after he was shot to death by insurgents while covering clashes in Mosul, police said.


Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah, 35, was the second employee of the news cooperative killed in the northern city in less than two years. He is survived by his wife, Alyaa Abdul-Karim Salim, a 6-year-old son, Yusof, and an infant daughter, Rafa.

On April 23, 2005, cameraman Saleh Ibrahim was killed after an explosion in Mosul. He was a father of five in his early 30s. AP photographer Mohammed Ibrahim was wounded. The circumstances of the death and injury are still unclear. Lutfallah was the third AP employee killed in the Iraq war. In 2004, Ismail Taher Mohsin, a driver, was ambushed by gunmen and killed near his home in Baghdad, AP said.

Before Tuesday's killing, Reporters Without Borders had recorded at least 93 journalists killed in Iraq since the war started nearly four years ago. Forty-five media assistants also have been killed, according to the Paris-based advocacy group.

The Committee to Protect Journalists had put the figure at 90 journalists and 37 media support workers killed in Iraq. (With reports from Iraq and BosNewsLife Monitoring).

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