Syria: ISIS renders Christians subaltern in Raqqa

Jihadists impose tax and discrimination in line with Koran

27 February, 18:10

    (ANSAmed) - BEIRUT, FEBRUARY 27 - Christians in Raqqa will from now on be forced to pay a 'protection tax' ('jizya') mentioned in the Koran and brought in by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which controls this city in northern Syria. The move is ''simply an act of propaganda,'' ANSA was told by some opposition activists in Raqaa, who underscored that of the hundreds of Christians living in the city until 2011, only a few dozen are left. The ideological character of the document, said the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), is evinced by the fact that it was signed by ISIS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who has proclaimed himself Amir Al-Muminin ('Commander of the Faithful'), the traditional title of caliphs.

    ISIS, which in the zones it occupies has set up courts tasked with administering justice according to Islamic law and which has banned alcohol and forced women to wear full Islamic veils, has now said that Raqqa Christians will be considered 'dhimmi': the word used to describe Christian and Jewish populations in the time of the Prophet Mohammad, who were allowed to live in the Muslim community only if they agreed to discriminatory conditions. The main difference is that they will have to pay the 'protection tax'. However, Christians will also not be able to ''show the cross or their writings'' in public places, they will not be able to ring church bells - ''even inside of churches'' - and they will have to ''accept the precepts imposed by the Islamic State, such as modest attire''. They will also be prohibited from building new churches and monasteries and from restoring existing ones. (ANSAmed).

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