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Islamists in Mosul issue ultimatum to Christians, 'convert or die'

ISIS Chief Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi's first video
ISIS Chief Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi's first videoScreen-shot from Zee News' Youtube channel

Muslims in Mosul have issued a deadly ultimatum to Christians demanding they either convert to Islam and pay a heavy religious tax or face death. It's a familiar scene that's played out around the world when radicals seize control and force their will upon the population.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, (ISIS), has swept through parts of Iraq and Syria looting, pillaging and killing vast numbers of those who don't practice Islam. The al-Qaeda offshoot told Christians in Mosul and northern Iraq, they must convert or die.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, now being called Caliph Ibrahim, had set Saturday, July 19 as a deadline for Christians to leave. Those who did not want to stay and live under the terms of the Muslim dhimma were ordered by al-Baghdadi to "leave the borders of the Islamic Caliphate."

The dhimma contract is a historic practice put into place where non-Muslims are protected in Muslim lands but have to pay a heavy tax, or levy, known as the jizya.

The statement ISIS released told Christians that:

We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

Christians who didn't want to compromise with the militant's demands fled Mosul. However, before they were allowed to leave members of ISIS demanded they be stripped of all valuable belongings. This meant many who left did so with only the clothes on their backs.

Charisma News reports that, "Mosul, once home to diverse faiths, had a Christian population of around 100,000 a decade ago, but waves of attacks on Christians since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein have seen those numbers collapse."

Furthermore, the report also said only 5,000 Christians remained in Mosul when ISIS took control of the city. Since then a vast majority of them fled the city leaving perhaps only 200 still in Mosul.

Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, called for governmental support for the homeless Iraqis who were forced to leave Mosul. He said that this specific event demonstrates "the extreme criminality and terrorist nature of this group," according to Bret Baier's blog.

Yohanna Petros Mouche, the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, told the Washington Post, “If we all leave, it sends the message that there is nowhere safe for Christians to live in Iraq — and this worries me. I’m not a vagabond. This is my home, and I will die here if necessary.”

Muslim atrocities have been well documented by this writer which can be found by clicking any of the links below.

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