Don’t tell John McCain, who equated jihadists shouting “Allahu Akhbar” (God is great) to saying “Thank God,” but the AP reports rebels shouting “Allahu Akhbar” have threatened Christians with beheading if they refuse to convert to Islam in the Syrian Christian village of Maaloula.
Maaloula is a mountain town which has been tentatively designated a world heritage site by Unesco, and is where the residents still speak Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights run by Rami Abdul-Rahman, Jabhat al-Nusra, an al Qaeda-linked rebel group, reportedly lead the rebel attack on the village and now has 1,500 rebels inside the village. Maaloula is now surrounded by Syrian government army forces around the village. He said, “The army pulled back to the outskirts of the village and both (rebel groups) are in total control of Maaloula now.” Abdul-Rahman added that there are still pro-government fighters hiding in the village.
One Maaloula resident who escaped to Jordan said the rebels were shouting “God is great”:
They shot and killed people. I heard gunshots and then I saw three bodies lying in the middle of a street in the old quarters of the village, So many people fled the village for safety. (Maaloula) is a ghost town. Where is President Obama to see what befallen on us?
Another resident who escaped said the rebels inside the town refused to let those who fled the town take five dead bodies with them. He added that a church called Demyanos had been burned, and that most of the rebels sounded like they were foreigners from outside Syria judging by their dialects.
A third villager, who is Christian, said, “I saw the militants grabbing five villagers Wednesday and threatening them (saying): ‘Either you convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded.” He was echoed by a Christian woman who said she heard of the threatened beheadings.