Radical Islamists Tell Mosul's Christians to Pay, Convert, or Die
Radical Islamists told Christians in Mosul, Iraq, to pay a protection tax or convert to Islam. If the people did neither they were threatened with death. The majority chose to flee the city.
“For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians,” Patriarch Louis Sako said.
One bishop said 150 people left the region.
"We have lived in this city and we have had a civilization for thousands of years - and suddenly some strangers came and expelled us from our homes," said an elderly woman.
"The Islamic State stopped my relatives at a checkpoint when they were fleeing and when they found out they were Christians, they took everything they were carrying, including their mobile phones," said a Christian man. "They left them only with the clothes they were wearing.”
“I’m staying. I already feel dead,” said Fadi, a teacher. “Only my soul remains, and if they want to take that I don’t have a problem,” he added.
Mosques around the country told Christians they must convert, pay, or die. The Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi told the people to leave if they did not want to do any of the three. Most went to Tel Keif and received shelter from the churches, but it might not last.
“We’re providing people with shelter, food and water - people don’t have anything left and they can’t travel without the money to buy tickets,” Bishop Yosip Benjamin told The Telegraph. “We’re being threatened every day. Now, we don’t have anything left but our faith. It’s like life has stopped, and we are so tired.”
If Christianity is eliminated in Mosul it will end one of the largest Christian communities in the world. Over 60,000 Christians lived in the northern town before 2003 when the U.S. invaded Iraq, and now only 35,000 remain. The radicals took over Mosul on June 10 and imposed Sharia. From The Telegraph:
These demand that women should be covered and only go outside “if necessary.” Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes are banned, and all shrines, monuments, and graveyards - seen as idolatrous in Salafi forms of Sunni Islam - will be destroyed.
The Islamic State even spray-painted Christian buildings and homes with the letter “N” for Nasrani.
Meanwhile, in Syria's northern city of Raqqa, for the second straight night, a woman was stoned to death for adultery. Supposedly, this was the first execution of that kind in the city.