Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Remaining Mosul Christians forced to convert to Islam: Iraqi official

25 Christian families remain trapped in Iraq’s second city following end of ISIS deadline to flee
by Dalshad Abdullah
Wednesday, 23 Jul, 2014

ISIS had announced a weekend deadline for Mosul’s Christians—the majority of whom are Assyrian—to renounce their faith and convert to Islam or leave the city, forcing thousands to flee with few or no possessions.

“Around 25 Christian families remain trapped in Mosul. They are families with sick or elderly members who have not been able to get out of the city. They now find themselves under siege by ISIS,” Duraid Hikmat Tobia, an advisor to the governor of Nineveh, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Some of these families were attacked by militants and taken to ISIS-run Islamic Shari’a law courts. They were given the choice between [converting to] Islam or execution.”

Radical Islamists usually ask non-Muslims to choose between either paying the jizya (a tax levied on non-Muslims) or converting to Islam. However, ISIS appears to have gone one step further, threatening Mosul’s remaining Christians with death if they do not convert.

“Five families have converted to Islam so far,” Tobia said.

ISIS militants have also set fire to churches and other Christian sites, including burial grounds, in Iraq’s second city. Local and international media outlets have reported that ISIS militants have confiscated the belongings of fleeing Iraqi Christians, while eyewitnesses said that messages telling any remaining Christians to leave the city were broadcast on loudspeakers from the city’s mosques on Friday. the rest

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