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ICC Note: In one of the most troubling news reports coming out of Syria, the Jihadist group – ISIS – controlling the city of Raqqa has officially implemented a protection tax – “dhimma” – on Christians living in the city. According to a statement posted online they met with 20 Christian leaders and gave them the choice of conversion, tribute, or the sword. If they rejected, the only thing remaining between ISIS and Christians was the sword, they said.
02/27/2014 Syria (BBC) – The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) said it would give Christian residents “protection” if they agreed to the list of conditions.
The announcement came in a statement posted online.
Correspondents say ISIS is trying to implement an extreme interpretation of Islamic law in areas it controls.
Raqqa, seized by ISIS last year, was the first provincial capital to be completely in the hands of rebels.
‘Risking the sword’
The directive from ISIS, citing the Islamic concept of “dhimma”, requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety.
It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public.
Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS (also known as ISIL) on their daily lives.
The statement said the group had met Christian representatives and offered them three choices – they could convert to Islam, accept ISIS’ conditions, or reject their control and risk being killed.
“If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword,” the statement said.
A group of 20 Christian leaders chose to accept the new set of rules, ISIS said.

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