Zee Media Bureau
Mosul: Hundreds of Christians in Iraq`s Mosul are fleeing the area after Islamist State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatened to kill them if they fail to pay “protection tax” or convert to Islam.
The diktat was read out at city mosques asking the Christian population to abide by the new order by Saturday afternoon or face consequences, the BBC reported.
ISIS also said that non-Muslims can escape execution if they agree to pay “jizya” which is protection fee for refusing to convert to Islam.
Soon after the warnings were issued, Christian families started fleeing to Dohuk and Irbil.
Witnesses said messages telling Christians to leave the city by Saturday were blared through loudspeakers from the city`s mosques, the AFP reported.
"We were shocked by the distribution of a statement by the Islamic State calling on Christians to convert to Islam, or to pay unspecified tribute, or to leave their city and their homes taking only their clothes and no luggage, and that their homes would then belong to the Islamic State," the country`s Chaldean patriarch Louis Sako .
The patriarch, who is one of the most senior Christian clerics in Iraq, and residents contacted by AFP said Islamic State militants had in recent days been tagging Christian houses with the letter N for "Nassarah", the term by which the Koran refers to Christians.
The statement said "there will be nothing for them but the sword if Christians reject those conditions".
(With AFP Inputs)