been crucified in the war-torn nation, apparently by Muslim militants, BosNewsLife learned Friday, July 20.

Joel Voordewind of the junior coalition party ChristianUnie, or ChristianUnion (CU), suggested his findings published by BosNewsLIfe News Agency this week  already led to concerns within the Dutch government that the situation in Iraq is even more serious than previously thought.

"I have the impression that [Dutch Foreign Minister] Maxime Verhagen will confirm that Christians are indeed victims of violence because of their faith," Voordewind said after sending an official notice to the government official. In written questions Voordewind and politicians of the main governing Christian Democrats and two opposition parties ask Verhagen to do "everything to end the violence against Christians in Iraq."

Voordewind, who is in close contact with key officials, said he expects the government to grant Iraqi Christians a similar refugee status as given to Christian converts from neighboring Iran, who reportedly face the prospect of executions or long prison terms when they return.


Dutch State Secretary for Justice Nebahat Albayrak said recently she would make it easier for Iranian Christians to obtain asylum in the Netherlands after the Foreign Ministry reported that "not all" Christians and homosexuals can safely return to their homeland.  Voordewind said he hopes Iraqi Christians will soon receive a similar treatment in the Netherlands.

His statement came amid signs that besides crucifixions and previously reported beheadings and bombings, violent incidents also include other atrocities. In at least one incident, an 11-year-old boy was recently "slaughtered" by Muslim militants believed to be linked to the ‘al Qaida in Iraq’ group, who later "cooked" the child, several news reports said. His family was allegedly later invited to a "feast meal" where they were forced to eat the boy, reports said.

While there was no immediate independent confirmation of that incident, church leaders have expressed concerns that militants use increasingly barbaric methods to drive out Christians from neighborhoods in Baghdad and other cities. Iraq had roughly 750,000 Christian when the US-led invasion began over four years ago, but at least more than half of them have fled the country, according to several estimates. (With additional reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).  

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