"With Baghdad as the prize in mind, [ISIS] has grown in size from 3,000 by earlier estimates to 20,000 as last month’s offensive bolstered their standing."
The abolition of the jizya tax is the most important part of this story.
by Adam Chandler, The Wire (via JihadWatch) — July 22, 2014
with comments by Robert Spencer and Ralph Sidway
ISIS, which recently rebranded as the Islamic State, has solidified its control over Iraq’s second-largest city by imposing Sharia law and expelling Christians who won’t convert to Islam. The end of last month marked the first time a mass wasn’t held in the city in more than 1600 years.
Then, matters got worse. From the Daily Beast:
Friday at noon was the deadline for Christian families to meet ISIS’s demands: Convert to Islam, pay an anachronistic Islamic tax for non-Muslims known as jizya, leave Mosul, or be killed. But the day before the final exodus, Christians were informed jizya was no longer an option. The order came to convert, leave, or die.
In his post on this story, Robert Spencer over at Jihad Watch comments on the idea of the jizya being "anachronistic":
This “anachronistic Islamic tax” is actually in the Qur’an, which no Muslim would describe as anachronistic: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).I would hasten to add that the Islamic State's abolition of jizya as an option for Christians and other non-Muslims is a clear sign that caliph Al-Baghdadi sees his role as hastening the end times. As I relate in my book, Facing Islam:
In Islam, Prophet Isa is expected to return, but to condemn the Christians’ misunderstanding of him as divine and to literally destroy Christianity and judge all non-Muslims... The Prophet Isa will be a “good Muslim,” and will direct his followers to the Mahdi, the Muslim messiah, before taking a subservient position somewhat behind the Mahdi. Isa will “fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill the swine and abolish jizya” and establish the rule of Allah throughout the world. (Hadith from Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Battles, 37:4310.)
On the way out of town last week, the final 1500 families of Mosul’s Christian population were reportedly robbed at ISIS checkpoints. And following Friday’s deadline, ISIS reportedly set fire to a 1800-year-old church.
#ISIS burns 1,800-year-old church in #Mosul http://t.co/TA2hBFMyah pic.twitter.com/SK0F6jpQpX— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 20, 2014
Last month, ISIS shocked much of the world by swiftly capturing Mosul in an offensive that allowed the group to take control of major parts of northern and western Iraq. As Reuters reported, the group has managed to shore up its control over communities with a combination of force and fear. After meeting armed resistance in the town of al-Alam for nearly two weeks, here’s what the group did:
They kidnapped 30 local families and rang up the town’s most influential citizens with a simple message about the hostages: “You know their destiny if you don’t let us take over the town.”
Weeks later, according to the report, only a few gunman patrol the town at night “so comfortable is the Islamic State in its control through fear.” Since then, with Baghdad as the prize in mind, the group has grown in size from 3,000 by earlier estimates to 20,000 as last month’s offensive bolstered their standing.