Baghdad, July 21, 2014
“The Christian families are currently on their way to the towns of Dohuk and Erbil (both situated in Kurdistan). There are no more Christians in Mosul for the first time in the history of Iraq,” reported the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church Louis Raphael I Sako.
Referring to eyewitnesses, the TV channel reports that the order for all Christians to leave the city before Saturday was relayed through the loudspeakers of local mosques.
Earlier the media reported that the ISIS militants introduced a tax for non-Muslims living on the territories that they had seized. The minimum taxation is 250 dollars (USA). According to the Iranian Human Rights Commission, in view of the present difficult economic situation in Iraq, to earn such a sum of money in order to pay the required tax is next to impossible. Now it is reported that “The Islamic State” has issued a statement demanding that the Christians either embrace Islam, pay the tax, or leave their homes, which will now be considered as the militants’ property.
The patriarch has also related that the militants are marking Christian houses, labelling them with the first letter of the word “Christian”in Arabic.
In June, the ISIS group that until lately fought in Syria headed the attack on the northern and western districts of Iraq. Iraqi Sunni Muslims, soldiers from Saddam Hussein’s former army, as well as small terrorist groups joined ISIS. On June 29, the group announced the creation of a Muslim “caliphate” on the territories of Iraq and Syria under their control. The militants’ leader Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, commonly known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was declared the first caliph. The self-proclaimed caliphate currently stretches from the city of Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala Province in eastern Iraq.