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The Christian ghetto of ISIS

Christians in the Homs region, their heads shaved by ISIS to distinguish them from Muslims, listen to the new Islamist rules they will be forced to live under. Photo from the archives of Father Zohr Hazaal

[…] The story of the small town Karyateyn 120 kilometers east of Homs one day will be made into a drama. For the past three months, local priests, risking their lives, pulled out Christians from the village occupied by terrorists, living there under rights for “subhumans”.

– The population there is mixed – Christians and Muslims, – tells us the abbot of Syrian Jacobite Orthodox Church of the Belt of the Virgin in the village of Fairuz, father Zohr Hazaal. – The armed opposition came to the village 4.5 years ago. But it was not the Islamist fanatics. And life was relatively tolerable. At least, no one infringed on the rights of religious communities, people were not mocked or beaten. But on August 4 came the militants of the “Islamic state”, and the situation has changed dramatically. First of all, the Islamists burned all the Christian churches and the monastery of St. Elias, built in the 4th century. Then razed to the ground the cemeteries. Moreover, both Christian and Muslim – Muslims, setting plates on the graves of their relatives, are equated by terrorists to heretics. ISIS shaved the heads of the entire Christian community, to distinguish them from the Muslims, gathered in one room, declaring them a new set of rules, more reminiscent of a fascist ghetto regime.

– The Islamists have called this document “macroma” [see below]. Translation, “clemency”, – says father Zohr Hazaal. – It was written by the terrorist leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. This so-called “clemency” force the Christians of the village to balance between life and death. For example, I can not stand in front of a Muslim and look him in the eyes. I have to bow my head. If an Islamist is sitting on a chair, a Christian should squat next to him. A Christian has no right to engage in trade, and must pay tax – dzhizyi: four and a quarter grams of gold for every man in a family. It is forbidden to leave the village, to pray, to carry the cross or holy books, under threat of death – even a minor act which can be regarded as a threat to ISIS. Also, death awaits those who are secretly working for the state. In disputes a Muslim always wins, because a Christian is not a believer. […]

Read in full Christian ghetto of the “Islamic state” at Fort Russ (with photos and video)


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Categories: conflict zones, latest