ICC Note: As the Sunni terrorist group ISIS solidifies its gains hold on Iraqi cities, reports are beginning to emerge of exactly what life looks like for residents living under their control. Christians – according to multiple reports – have been ordered to pay a “protection tax” or jizya, a historical practice dating back to 7th century Christian minorities living under Islamic rule, if they are to remain in Mosul or other areas under ISIS control.
ICC has launched a campaign to provide aid to the Iraqi church to assist those in need who have fled from the attacks. Go here to find out more and donate: Iraqi Crisis Response
By Sharona Schwartz
6/25/14 Iraq (The Blaze) – Christians in a northern Iraqi city are reportedly being ordered to pay a tax in return for protection by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
A Middle Eastern Christian website and a Lebanese daily reported that Christians have been required to pay $250 per individual who works and $500 per couple. If accurate, the tax would fall in line with past Islamist efforts to impose fines on Christians in the region, a Middle East expert told TheBlaze.
Council of High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq member Salama Al-Khafaji told the Arabic-language Alsumaria News that ISIS had begun imposing the tax, known as “jizya,” on Christians who remained in Mosul after the militant group seized the city earlier this month. The Assyrian International News Agency summarized the report on its English-language website.
Al-Khafaji said ISIS “is imposing on Christians a minimum payment of $250, with amount varying depending on the type of work/profession performed by Christian citizens.”
“The economic situation in Mosul is extremely difficult, and there are no financial resources or job opportunities except for vegetable shops, any other businesses are non-existent. Citizens are at a loss now as to how to make ends meet; how can they pay those amounts to ISIS?” Al-Khafaji asked.
The Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar reported Tuesday that Christian families in Mosul had received telephone calls informing them of the protection tax. The paper quoted a Chaldean Catholic church leader who said Christians were told to either pay the tax or leave the city.
At least half of Iraq’s Christian population has fled the country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to the Associated Press, and remaining Christians now are “emptying out” to escape the prospect of living under strict Shariah law, the stated goal of the Sunni Muslim militants.
Earlier this year, Christians in the Syrian city of Raqqa were told to pay a protection tax in gold after the city was seized by ISIS, under a concept that dates back to the seventh centurytreatment of non-Muslims under a caliphate. The Al Qaeda splinter group said it would protect the Christians in exchange for the payment and limitations on public displays of Christianity.