[QODLink]
Middle East

Iraq Christians get Islamic State's warning

Islamic State group tells Christian community in Mosul they face death if they do not embrace Islam or pay tax.

Last updated: 19 Jul 2014 18:58
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

The Islamic State group has threatened Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul with death if they do not convert to Islam or pay a tax, Al Jazeera has learned.

The Sunni rebel group issued the orders in a letter after Friday prayers. The document, obtained by Al Jazeera, states that the order was issued after Christian leaders failed to attend a meeting called by the group.

In response, the group says in the letter that Christians must either convert to Islam, pay a tax on non-Muslims known as jiziya, or give up their posessions and leave the city. Failure to do so would result in a death penalty, "as a last resort".

Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, was overrun by the Islamic State group and allied rebel groups last month.

Check out our complete coverage of the crisis in Iraq

The Iraqi army units stationed in the city, most of whom were Shia, fled after the group crossed from Syria and attacked the north of Iraq.

Before the attack, Mosul's Christian community was estimated at 3,000. Many are believed to have already fled the city as part of an exodus of up to one-third of the population. Those who fled reported that churches and Christian-owned shops in the city were smashed.

The Islamic State's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, held a sermon in Mosul's grand mosque two weeks ago, calling on all Muslims to unite behind his group.

The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL, has issued similar demands in areas it control in Syria, and has posted pictures of Christians being crucified for disobeying orders in Raqqa.

Church leader‎s in Iraq have not responded to the threats officially.

Nickolay Mladenov, the head of the UN assistance mission In Iraq, condemned the order.

"Any persecution of minorities constitutes a crime against humanity and we urge all sides to protect civilians. We have produced a report listing attacks on civilians ‎and have brought this up at the highest levels of the Iraqi government."

358

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Referendum on Scottish independence is the first major election in the UK where 16 and 17-year olds get a vote.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Farmers worry about their future as buyers shun local produce and rivers show an elevated presence of heavy metals.
War-torn neighbour is an uncertain haven for refugees fleeing Pakistan's Balochistan, where locals seek independence.
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
join our mailing list