Iraqi paper claims Jews kidnap Christians to convert

An Iraqi newspaper is understood to have published an article alleging that "Jewish groups" are routinely kidnapping Christian citizens for forcible conversion to Judaism.

According to a report in the daily Al-Mustaqbal paper, translated by media monitor MEMRI, the abductions were being carried out so that Jewish people could get "support and protection from the dangers that that the Christian minority has been exposed to".

If the Christians refused to change religion, Jews were accused of having them "killed, kidnapped, or expelled".

Iraq's Jewish population, which once numbered 150,000, is believed to stand at just a handful of people now. The Christian population is larger, numbering an estimated 850,000, but still only around forms three per cent of the population.

The report, which named only general and anonymous sources to prove its points, referred to the claims of a "Christian family".

The source said there were "Jewish groups which specialise in operations for killing or expelling Christians from Iraq unless they convert to the Jewish religion".

The "family" also claimed that Jewish groups had some kind of "official cover" which enabled them to infiltrate Christian areas, and added that the pressures had prompted Christians to emigrate to Turkey.

Jews were accused of using Kurdish identity cards to carry out their covert operations, but said to have previously travelled in American military vehicles.

Last updated: 2:16pm, July 21 2011