July 21st, 2014
08:14 AM ET

ISIS to Christians in Mosul: convert, pay or die

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) - Just days after the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria said they killed hundreds of Syrians, dozens of Iraqi Christian families are now fleeing the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul, hoping to avoid a similar fate.

On Friday, the al Qaeda splinter group issued an ultimatum to Iraqi Christians living in Mosul - by Saturday they must convert to Islam, pay a fine or face "death by the sword."

A total of 52 Christian families left the city of Mosul early Saturday morning, with an armed group prohibiting some of them from taking anything but the clothes on their backs.

"They told us, 'You to leave all of your money, gold, jewelry and go out with only the clothes on you,'" Wadie Salim told CNN.

Images obtained exclusively by CNN show that the phrase "property of ISIS" scrawled in black paint on a number of the homes that were abandoned.

Some of the families headed for Irbil - which is currently controlled by Kurdish forces - and others toward the Dohuk province. The majority went to Dohuk, which is 140 kilometers (87 miles) north of Mosul.

"We did not know how to act," said another Mosul resident, Um Nazik. "Are we going to get killed?"

ISIS was able to take over large swaths of land due to the lack of centralized authority in both Iraq and war-torn Syria. The Sunni militants hope to establish an Islamic state throughout the region it currently controls.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Discrimination • Foreign policy • Interfaith issues • Iraq • Islam • Middle East • Persecution • Religious violence

soundoff (1,316 Responses)
  1. whune

    I – Insecure
    S – Sick
    I – Infantile
    S – Slaughterers (of children)

    August 9, 2014 at 11:25 am |
  2. whune

    If... ISIS neglects to kill people if they pay a fine...
    Then... this implies that the ISIS has no integrity as a religious organization.
    (Religions act on their principles regardless of how the opposition responds)
    This implies that ISIS is nothing more than a business run by egocentric tyrants that happen to identify with a particular religion...
    thus tainting that religion with their insecurity as they attempt to use it as a platform to try and convince their selves of control and eliminate any challenge to their personal views...
    All because their figurative pee pees can't handle it.
    (omg you disagree with me... i has to kill you!)

    ISIS's existence is to gratify the wounded and fragile egos of those pathetic enough to affiliate with it;
    which is why money alters their behavior:
    They don't have actual conviction.
    They simply crave the illusion of control.

    August 9, 2014 at 11:03 am |
  3. GrassMudHorse

    I thought the Quran said: "Verse (ayah) 256 of Al-Baqara: There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Tâghût and believes in God (ar. Allah), then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And God is All-Hearer, All-Knower." So how can you force Christians, especially "People of the Book" who are protected under Islam to convert or die????

    August 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
  4. jonusb

    As a Jewish American, I would LOVE to see ISIS try to invade Israel.They think they're so incredibly tough by forcing unarmed civilians from their homes and threatening them with their lives. Just knock on Netanyahu's door, I dare you. I doubt anyone will miss you when Israel gets the freedom to take its GLOVES OFF.

    August 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
  5. monica7c



    August 1, 2014 at 7:37 am |
  6. truth1914

    ARMAGEDDON! The War to End All Wars
    Armageddon will accomplish something that no other war has ever accomplished—the end of all wars. Who does not yearn for the day when warfare will be a thing of the past? However, the end of war has eluded all human efforts. Such repeated failure of human attempts to end war merely emphasizes the truth of Jeremiah’s words: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Regarding what Jehovah will accomplish, the Bible promises: “He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire.”—Psalm 46:8, 9.
    As the nations use their deadly weapons on one another and threaten to destroy the environment, the Maker of the earth will take action—at the Biblical Armageddon! (Revelation 11:18) This war, therefore, will accomplish what God-fearing men throughout the ages could only hope for. It will vindicate the rightful rulership of earth’s Owner, Jehovah God, over all his creation.
    Thus, Armageddon is not to be feared by people who love righteousness. Rather, it provides a basis for hope. The war of Armageddon will cleanse the earth of all corruption and wickedness and open the way for a righteous new system of things under the rule of God’s Messianic Kingdom. (Isaiah 11:4, 5) Instead of being a frightening cataclysmic end, Armageddon will signal a happy beginning for righteous individuals, who will live forever on a paradise earth.—Psalm 37:29.

    July 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
    • Reality

      The Book of Revelation, the ranting of an insane person.

      July 28, 2014 at 7:04 am |
      • truth1914

        For those that God has allowed to unlock the secrets of the book Revelation it’s not the ranting of an insane man that we see but the conclusion of a matter that only God has allow right hearted ones to unlock the secrets therein.
        Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus said in response: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to young children

        July 28, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          pure "cult-speak"

          July 28, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          exactly doG,

          "cult logic".... where an ideology or belief claims "certainty" but only through accepting that belief can one know "true" knowledge. It can't be demonstrated to non-believers until they accept the belief. And non-believers cannot be taken seriously in their criticism of the belief BECAUSE they are non-believers, and do not have access to the "true" knowledge. It is religious babble.

          July 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • truth1914

          John 17:3 "This means everlasting life, their getting to know you, the only true God and the one you sent forth Jesus Christ."

          July 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Your name seems to imply that you're a Jehovah's Witness...
      If so, isn't part of your theology that only 144,000 people are going to wind up in Heaven?
      But anways – do you realize how insane it sounds to say that the best way to eliminate war and conflict is to decimate the planet and kill 99% of the people on it?
      “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
      —1 John 2:18
      Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming since the Bible itself was written.
      Many have prophesied the exact time of date of His return and ALL have been wrong.
      Back in the mid 2nd century, Montanus convinced his followers that the 2nd coming would be during their lifetimes. Despite Christ's no show and the continuation of civilization, somehow the cult lasted for centuries.
      A couple of hundred years later, a North African Christian tribe known as the Donatists tried the same scam, saying everything would collapse in 380CE.
      Around the same time, St. Martin of Tours declared that the anti-Christ had already been born and was on His way to gaining power over the world.
      A mathematical Christian group called the Lotharingians were quite certain The End would be in 970CE becuase in that year, the Annunciation and Good Friday were on the same day.
      Pope Innocent III prophesied the 2nd Coming for 666 years after the rise of Islam., the year 1284.
      Archdeacon Militz of Kromeriz and an ascetic monk named Jean de Roquetaillade both said it would be around 1365CE.
      Melchior Hoffman, an Anabaptist prophet, predicted that the world would burn in 1533CE.
      The Fifth Monarchy Men, a guano insane English terrorist group, said the apocalyptic battle between Christ and Satan would happen in 1666CE.
      George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
      William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
      Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
      Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
      Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
      Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
      Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
      Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
      Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
      Harold Camping told everyone that the Rapture would happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.

      Conversely, many believe He’s all ready come in the form of Sun Myung Moon, Emanuel Swedenborg, Baha u llah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, David Koresh, Hailie Selassie, John Thom, Arnold Potter, William Davies, George roux, Ernest Norman, Krishna Venta, Ahn Sahng-Hong, Jim Jones, Mashall Applewhite, Hulon Mitchell, Wayne Bent, Ariffin Mohammed, Mitsuo Matayoshi, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Inri Cristo, Thomas Provenzano, David Icke, Shoko Asahara, Hogan Fukinaga, Marina Tsvigun or Sergei Troop.

      So yeah – "the last hour" – give or take 17.5 million hours.

      July 28, 2014 at 10:49 am |
      • truth1914

        I don’t begrudge you your opinion. The information I present comes from God’s inspired word which interprets itself. Believe whatever makes you complete.

        July 28, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          Analogia Scriptura – using scripture to explain scripture, courtesy of the first person to translate the Bible into English from Hebrew and Greek (William Tyndale). One of the first notions of Analogia Scripura is that the Bible is God's Word and free from contradiction. From that then comes, why I would call the art of making it all seem to be non-contradictory – the scripture is the scripture's interpreter. No wonder these people are thinking in circles. I guess that if one starts with the premise that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then not only does this notion of AS help explain the Bible, it also validates it as well (huge eyeroll).
          – Doris

          July 28, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • truth1914

          2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired of God+ and beneficial for teaching,+ for reproving, for setting things straight,* for disciplining in righteousness,+ 17 so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.

          July 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Believe whatever makes you complete."

          Yes, like believing the works of men are "inspired by god" when no one can show this "god" to exist. You need the crutch, so you decided to believe even though there is NOTHING to verify its authenticty. There is a great deal showing men created it though.

          July 28, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • truth1914

          2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired of God+ and beneficial for teaching,+ for reproving, for setting things straight,* for disciplining in righteousness,+ 17 so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work

          July 28, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • G to the T

          "All Scripture is inspired of God"

          So said Paul – but what "Scripture" was he actually referring to? Not like he had a KJV handy...

          One of the problems when you treat a collection of books as a contiguous whole – interpretations are used that assume a continuity that doesn't exits.

          August 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • truth1914

          That is not the case that I have seen. The bible has one continuous theme. And when Paul said All Sripture he was referring to whatever writings they had at the time. The KJ version is just that a version. PS 83:18.

          August 6, 2014 at 9:53 am |
    • G to the T

      Armageddon is a place, not an event.

      August 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
      • truth1914

        no there is no place called Armagddon that's why we no it is a symbolic reference as it pertains to location.
        Use of the name Armageddon (Har–Magedon) cannot mean that the war will be fought at a literal Mountain of Megiddo
        There is no literal Mountain of Megiddo; only a mound about 70 feet (21 m) high where ruins of ancient Megiddo are found.
        The kings and military forces of “the entire inhabited earth” could not fit into the literal Plain of Esdraelon, below Megiddo. The plain is triangular, only 20 miles (32 km) long and 18 miles (29 km) wide at the eastern end.—The Geography of the Bible (New York, 1957), Denis Baly, p. 148.[1]

        August 6, 2014 at 10:01 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.