Terrorists from “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIS/ISIL) group intend to destroy all churches in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq (396 kilometres from Baghdad), which they have seized, reports ITAR-TASS.
According to the Al Mayadeen TV channel, the armed extremists who follow the doctrine of religious intolerance (takfir), announced this on Monday to Mosul residents through loudspeakers, installed on the automobiles with black flags, which are moving around the city, informing the population about orders of the islamists.
On June 14 takfirists executed in the city 12 sheikhs-theologians for refusing to swear allegiance to them. The sheikhs were executed by shooting before the Al-Isra Mosque. Then the ban on selling alcoholic drinks and cigarettes was declared and women were ordered to wear abayas – a traditional outer garment worn by Muslim women.
From today, Christians of Mosul will most probably be persecuted, reports Al Mayadeen. In the Syrian city of Rakka (Ar-Raqqah) on The Euphrates, where the ISIS has been throwing its weight around for more than a year, Christian men are ordered to pay jizyah in gold – a tax levied per capita on some categories of subjects for refusal to embrace Islam.
Three days ago takfirists already attacked an Armenian Church in Mosul. Their appearance in the second largest city of Iraq has provoked a mass outflow of population to Erbil – the capital of the Iraqi Kurdish autonomy.
Over 600,000 residents have moved there. In Mosul (1.8 million people) under Saddam Hussein the number of Christians reached 30% of the population. Assyrians, Nestorians, Chaldeans, who belong to ancient Oriental Churches, live here in addition to Armenians.
There are several ancient churches in the city: the 13th century St. Peter’s Cathedral (Es Sefa), the 8th century St. Thomas’ Chapel, Al-Tahira Monastery (of the Most Pure Mother of God) and a number of other churches. Mosul is also famous for its mosques, one of which is built on the site of the Biblical Prophet Jonah’s tomb.