Al-Qaeda Rebels in Syria Tell Christians to Pay Up or Die

ISIS leaders are invoking an ancient law to force Christians living in their areas to pay for protection

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Syrian walk in front of the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs in the northern rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Sept. 16, 2013.

Radical Islamist rebels running the northern Syrian city of Raqqa have made the Christians living in the area an offer they can’t refuse: pay for protection, convert to Islam, or “face the sword.”

In a statement posted to Jihadi websites and signed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-designated emir of the future Islamic caliphate of Raqqa, as well as the founder of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] rebel brigade, Christians are urged to pay a tax in order to continue living under ISIS’s protection. The terms are simple: twice a year wealthy Christians must pay the equivalent of half an ounce of gold — about $664 by today’s market value. Middle-class Christians have to come up with half that sum, and poor Christians can get away with paying a quarter, or about $166.

Terrorism analyst Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi offers a translation of the statement for the Syria Comment blog. ISIS’s so-called “dhimmi pact,” which refers to an ancient piece of legislation that allowed Christians and Jews to live and practice their religion in Islamic kingdoms as long as they paid a tax and submitted to specific rules, lays out what they can expect in return. Their churches will not be attacked, their wealth will not be confiscated, and they will not be physically harmed. They will have the right to practice their religion — as long as they keep their crosses, their Bibles and their churches out of sight. They are not allowed to ring bells, evangelize or pray within earshot of a Muslim, nor are they allowed to sell pork and alcohol to Muslims or bear arms.

Raqqa, the only Syrian city completely under rebel control, was seized by ISIS in May. Since then the group, which was an al-Qaeda franchise until last month, when it was expelled for being too radical, has attempted to establish a new Islamic kingdom governed by laws dating back to the days of the Prophet Mohammad and his successors. Fierce battles between ISIS and other rebel groups aligned against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad over the direction of the revolution have resulted in some 2,000 dead over the past few months. ISIS’s latest dictate will raise hackles, but there is little that the other rebel groups can do, short of opening another front in their war.

In the statement, ISIS members said that some 20 Christian leaders had already agreed to the terms. It’s a figure that has many scratching their heads. Before the Syrian conflict started three years ago, less than one percent of Raqqa’s 300,000 population was Christian. Most of those Christians had already fled by the time ISIS moved in. “I find it hard to believe that after all that happened, there are any Christians at all left in Raqqa,” says Bassel, a 36-year-old Christian from nearby Aleppo, who asked to use only one name in order to protect his family still in Syria. To Bassel, the attention the statement has garnered outweighs the impact and has diverted attention from more important issues, like civilian casualties. The Syrian regime has long used Islamists’ threats against Christians and other minorities to justify their assertion that all rebels are terrorists. ISIS, on the other hand, gets to highlight its Islamist bona fides. Christians, says Bassel, are an easy way to focus the world’s attention. “We are good for propaganda.”

16 comments
seroujb@gmail.com
seroujb@gmail.com

Sponsored by the same Ottoman Turkey who massacred 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 ! #savekessab

CrossWinds
CrossWinds

Revelation 12:17........17 And the dragon (Satan) was angry at the woman (Israel) and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.

Future-vision
Future-vision

Can someone explain to me why it is politically incorrect to have a negative opinion of islam?


The Mormon religion is just as nonsensical to me as well and I have noticed that people will openly speak about the ridiculous nature of their faith, but as soon as you start discussing islam it is as though they become scared to talk any further. The religion itself seems to lock people up with fear.  


I just simply don't get it, its fine to mock Mormons and most other faiths but a major no-no to even point out the aspects of islam that are racist, bigoted, abusive, violent, sexist and cruel.


Not even the creators of South Park were prepared to go anywhere near this and the controversy they have generated with their series would be enough to fill several books.

mmfuchs
mmfuchs

Yep Muslims love everyone don't they!  Convert or die!  Pay for protection or die!   Be part of  our sect or die!   Wear the clothing we tell you or die!   Beat your wife daily or die!  Yep Muslims are full of love of themselves!

Vivelevin
Vivelevin

Don't give the Tea Party "faux" Christians any ideas...they'd probably like to do the same thing to anyone who doesn't believe what they believe.

kon-tiki
kon-tiki

Don't blame them, they are only following Quran.

Chapter 9 Versus 29 - Muslims to fight agains Jews and Christians 

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled."


Jizyah means TAX imposed on NON-MUSLIMS,  for those who do not understand. 


aburn8
aburn8

The religion of peace.

JudeO'Connor1
JudeO'Connor1

And we have people here in the US that will scream that Islam is peaceful. Go to Dearborn Michigan and ask the police about the areas of their city that they will not enter. It's here folks!

phoebes
phoebes

@CrossWinds  Revelation 17:3-5: So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman (Israel) sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy (...) And on her forehead a name was written: “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots, And of the Abominations of the Earth.”

kon-tiki
kon-tiki

@Future-vision

Muslims, they're not happy in Gaza. 

They're not happy in Egypt .
They're not happy in Libya, Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Syria, Lebanon ...

SO, WHERE ARE THEY HAPPY?

They're happy in Australia.
They're happy in Canada.
They're happy in England, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, USA, Norway, Holland, Denmark .

Basically, they're happy in every country that is not Muslim
 and unhappy in every country that is!

AND WHO DO THEY BLAME?

Not Islam.
Not their leadership.
Not themselves.

THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN!

AND THEN; They want to change those countries to be like....
THE COUNTRY THEY CAME FROM WHERE THEY WERE UNHAPPY!

gmason69
gmason69

@Vivelevin  Nope, that's not in the Bible; The jizya's in the Koran though. You should be happy there's no tax on hateful ignorance: you'd be broke.

darkknightdetec
darkknightdetec

@JudeO'Connor1  That's like saying the Wesboro Baptist Church's practices are representative of all Christians.  True Islam is peaceful.  Al Qaeda's warped Islam is not.  

lighthorseharry
lighthorseharry

DarkKnight: Absolute B S. Fallacious and a weak analogy.