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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ISIS and Mosul's Christians

Not too long ago around 60,000 Christians lived in Mosul, Iraq, but times have changed. The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the jihadist group that captured Mosul about a month ago, has "cleansed" the city of Christians. ISIS initially told Mosul's Christians that they had until July 18th to convert to Islam, pay a special tax, leave, or be have “nothing but the sword,” but it changed its mind. On July 18th, all Christians were told (via loudspeakers) that they all had to leave by the next day or be killed.
The Arabic letter for N for Nassarah, meaning Christian, was spray-painted on their houses, with stencils declaring them to be “Property of the Islamic State”. Monks from the monastery of Mar Behnam, near Qaraqosh, south-east of Mosul, were allowed to take only the clothes they were wearing. “You have no place here any more,” the jihadists are reported to have said (The Economist, July 24th).
So, for the first time in at least 1,600 years, no Christians will be living in the city (the Mar Behnam monastery dates from the 4th century). They aren't the only religious groups being treated harshly by ISIS. So are Shia Muslims and Yazidis, the latter of which have ties to Zoroastrianism.

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