As Christians, the Comannys had learned to keep a low profile. They even stayed in their house after many Muslim neighbors fled the daily chaos when sectarian bloodshed between Shiite and Sunni militants broke out in 2006, making this one of Baghdad's most embattled districts.
But the hand-scrawled note at their door was the final straw.
The message commanded the family to select one of these options:
-- Convert to Islam.
-- Pay a fee of nearly $300 monthly for "protection."
-- Leave the area.
Failure to comply would result in death.
"We don't have weapons, and the government doesn't protect us. What else can we do?" said Comanny, a 37-year-old journalist whose family abandoned its modest home of 11 years.
Extreme Islamic militants increasingly are targeting Christians in Iraq, especially in the capital. As a result, Iraq's Christian community -- long the minority in a largely Muslim country -- continues to dwindle.
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