Facing the promise of execution if they do not embrace Islam or pay tribute for being Christians, the remaining Christians in Mosul, Iraq fled before the deadline of noon on Saturday 19 July.
The aim of the militant group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) to create an Islamic state emptied of all Christians has moved closer to a reality.
Last week, ISIS began marking Christian homes throughout the city. The Arabic letter “N,” standing for the Arabic word “Nasrani,” a name for Christians, was painted on Christians’ homes around Mosul.
On Thursday 17 July, ISIS released a statement in Mosul laying out the only three options for Christians who had remained in the city following its takeover last month.
1. Islam (to become Muslim).
2. Pay Jizya (which is taking tribute for being Christians).
3. If they refuse, there is nothing for them but the sword. The Prince of the Faithful Caliph Ibrahim – Allah Glorify him – will allow them to evacuate themselves only from the borders of the state Alkhalafah by Saturday, Ramadan 21, 1435 (18 July 2014) noon hour, and after this date, the only thing between us and them is the sword.The deadline was reportedly set by Caliph Ibrahim, the title claimed by ISIS’ leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi when declaring the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate. The offer of “Islam, tribute, or sword” was the same offer that ISIS made in Raqqa, Syria, a city that has now become its base of operations. ISIS controls a large swath of territory across northern Syria and into Iraq. They are moving to set up an Islamic state and driving out all Christians, along with Shi’a Muslims, and other religious minorities.
According to Tera Dahl, writing from Erbil, “The last Christian reportedly left Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul at 12:00pm on Saturday, ending over 6,000 years of Assyrian history in the city. Assyrians have lived in Mosul for over 6,000 years, converting to Christianity over 2,000 years ago. This all came to an end on Saturday, when the last Assyrian Christian left the city.”
As hundreds of families were trying to flee before the deadline, ISIS reportedly set up checkpoints and was robbing them of their possessions.
Dispossessed of their cars, hundreds of Christians were forced to continue their march of nearly 80 kilometres on foot. This latest stream of refugees joins the hundreds of thousands who fled when ISIS first took Mosul in early June.
Sources: International Christian Concern, Assyrian International News Agency
- Ask God to protect and provide for the Christians who have been forced to leave their homes.
- Pray they will not despair but take heart in the Lord’s promises that He will never leave them nor forsake them.
- Pray the Lord will intervene to bring an end to the evil of ISIS.