Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Christians Flee ISIS territory

How can we have come to this? (Patrick Cockburn Time runs out for Christian Iraq: Isis deadline passes with mass flight Independent, Sunday 20 July 2014):
The last Christians in northern Iraq are fleeing from places where their communities have lived for almost 2,000 years, as a deadline passed for them to either convert to Islam, pay a special tax or be killed. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) issued a decree last week offering Christians the three options accompanied by the ominous threat that, if they did not comply by midday on 19 July, “then there is nothing to give them but the sword”. It is the greatest mass flight of Christians in the Middle East since the Armenian massacres and the expulsion of Christians from Turkey during and after the First World War. Isis, which now rules an area larger than Great Britain, has already eliminated many of the ancient Christian communities of eastern Syria, where those who had not escaped were given a similar choice between conversion, payment of a special tax or death.
Threw were over one million Christians in Iraq before the US and British invasion of 2003. The Christians are mostly Assyrians, known as the Church of the East, or Chaldeans, an Eastern rite of the Catholic Church.


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