Monday, May 28, 2007

They mean it

It is a natural response to extremism to explain it away by finding irresistable external forces that give its adherents no choice but to threaten, bluster and kill. It is normal, among normal people, to believe that estremist rhetoric is just that, "rhetoric", not to be taken at face value. "They say that, but they don't really mean it" is a comfort, a reassurance that the world really is governable and explicable. Often that is the case. Sometimes it isn't.

In Mosul, Islamic groups have begun to demand from Christians the payment of a tax, the jiza, the tribute historically imposed by Muslims on their Christian, Jewish, and Sabian subjects who accepted to live in a regime of submission, as “dhimmi.”

But it is above all in Baghdad that the jiza is being imposed upon Christians in an increasingly generalized way. In the neighborhood of Dora, ten kilometers southwest of the capital, with a high concentration of Christians, groups tied to al-Qaeda have installed a self-proclaimed “Islamic state in Iraq” and are systematically collecting the tax, set at between 150 and 200 dollars a year, the equivalent of a month’s expenses for a family of six. The exacting of the tribute is being extended to other neighborhoods in Baghdad, toward al-Baya’a and al-Thurat.

See the whole article, but only if you want to be depressed.

No comments: