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Christians of Raqqa in a succession of ISIS

Exclusive – Raqqa is being slaughtered silently

ISIS accuse Muslims of being infidels and apostates, what he is going to do with us we the Christians “, this cynical and sad words outlined a Christian citizens within Raqqa about their fears after ISIS control of the city of Raqqa.

Raqqa which was the first Syrian province, which has been completely freed from the grip of the Assad regime in early 2013, at a defining moment and a turning articular in the history of the Syrian Revolution interrupted by an overwhelming feeling of joy overwhelming was not confined to the city alone, but across Syria, but the joy was short regime of Assad who went out of the door of Raqqa humiliated and subdued returned to it from the window.

The regime returned in a different way and picture, he returned with beards and  short Jellalab and minds of fossilized claim ownership of the original and only copy of “true Islam”, to fall Raqqa again in rapist grip unjust least worse and brutal of Assad regime and the gangs that wreaked in the country havoc for decades.

The suffering of Christians began with ISIS control of Raqqa

Extremist organization began to impose its provisions and laws that include all walks of life and directly affect the daily lives of civilians and their affairs, it has also started the implementation of strict sanctions against those who dare to violate these laws by saying or doing. These provisions were included all the components of society, without discrimination or regard for privacy that was living under its shadow some sects and ethnic groups within the city, and here began the suffering of Christians in Raqqa.

ISIS looks at Christians as infidels loyal to the West more than their loyalty to their homeland which they live, and on this basis began to impose restrictions and additional conditions on this sect to contribute to blur the identity and history of long-standing and deep-rooted within the Syrian society, and forcing the rest of the sons and elderly to leave the city unwillingly not voluntarily.

ISIS issued a series of rulings on the Christian population in the city of Raqqa, in the context of what called the “contract disclosure in the Levant between the Islamic state and the Christians of the state of Raqqa” the published contract at the twenty-sixth of February of 2014, included a series of provisions and commands Christians must adhere to under pain of severe punishment against those oppose it, this document came in the form of seven items in the following form:

  1. Christians obliged to pay tribute to all of their males, four dinars amount of gold to the rich people, and half of that on the middle course, and half of it to the poor.
  2. Not to build monastery and church or silo of monk in the city or around and not to renew what ruined of them.
  3. Not to show any cross or and of their books in front of the Muslims or in their markets and not to use loudspeakers when performing their prayers, as well as the rest of their worship.
  4. Not to let recite their books and voices of bells heard by Muslims and keep it inside the church
  5. Not to do any acts of aggression against the Islamic state.
  6. Not prevent anyone from Christians to convert to Islam if he wanted it
  7. Not trade in the sale of pork and alcohol with the Muslims or in their markets, and not to drink it publicly

ISIS said: “the will ensure the safety of Christians in exchange for the payment of tribute, and their commitment to the provisions of the contract disclosure,” adding that the imposition of tribute was based on the choice of Christians after the delegates on their meeting with the representatives of ISIS in Raqqa, and after was giving them the choice between that convert to Islam, or pay tribute, and was their choice to pay tribute.

Although the payment of tribute has been stopped for centuries, but it resurfaced at the hands of ISIS, in a move seen as arbitrary and encroachment by them in the application of Islamic texts in the eyes of many Muslim scholars and even some theorists of the Jihadist Salafist movement who have significant with their opinions and fatwa

Tribute in the Islamic Sharia is the amount of money paid by the able-bodied fighting non-Muslim “dhimmi” in exchange for their protection, and exempted the elderly, women and children, the infirm, the disabled and those who are fighting in the ranks of Muslims.

It is not just a financial tax paid as a substitute for murder or convert to Islam, but is more like a social contract between those citizens of the Islamic state at the time, with the consequent responsibility of each of rights and duties the most important to protect religious freedom, and this is what did not ISIS commit to clearly in the contract, as they did not commit the on other hand, of the contents and the terms of this contract on the ground.

ISIS policies aimed at the expulsion of Christians from tenderness

Based on the document in question, ISIS has warned the the rest of the Christians and Armenians in the city of Raqqa to pay tribute or to leave it, confirmed Christian citizen still resides inside of Raqqa city, who requested anonymity, that “ISIS imposing tribute to Christians in the city, starting at  25 thousand Syrian pounds for the unemployed, and 50 thousand for the worker, and a hundred thousand for property owners and businesses, and in the case of defaulted payment for a family will be expelled out of the city and the seizure of their property. “

He added that “This tribute is a heavy burden for many families,” noting that “a lot of Christian families left Syria, and was forced to give up their property, fearing of the ambitions of the organization and his quest to capture it.”

One of the people in Raqqa his name is Jameel said: “The members belonging to the organization told the Christian and Armenian families in Raqqa that they should pay tribute to the organization or get out of it.”

Jameel added: Christians began to worry since September / September of the year 2013, when a number of members of ISIS entered the Bshara Church and the Church of the martyrs church in the city of Raqqa, and broke crosses, and collected everything of the pictures, crosses and they burned it, as they raised the flag of the organization instead of the cross.

Christians of Raqqa between a rock and a hard place

Christians today live in Raqqa in a terrible conditions their situation Like the rest of the components of society in the city, ISIS practicing its provisions and practices of atrocities on the ground, and Assad regime and the Russian ally bombing the city day and night their aircraft that do not discriminate between civilians and “ISIS member”, and between this and that civilians live in light of squalor conditions of economic and living and service..

The Christians who are a few families remained inside Raqqa, added to the status quo ante they are suffering from the need to wear clothes and appearing as imposed by ISIS on their Muslim counterparts, which is not used in the past. As well as the multiplier fear they feel at the traffic barriers of ISIS and security points, not for something specific or fault of their own, but merely belonging to a religion not recognized by the organization and not pleased with him altogether.

On the other hand, Christians have ceased to show celebrating holidays and events of their own, as organizers of the churches stopped percussion bells, and disappeared crosses and symbols and monuments fully within the city, after ISIS confiscated most of the buildings and endowments of Christianity, including the Armenian Club in the city, as on the other hand, the confiscation of Christians properties who left the city earlier because of the harassments and practices of ISIS against them

Churches are sad in Raqqa

Churches that adorned the city with it architectural designs, and crosses that were sending love and coexistence letters between the sons of one homeland, dressed today in black, which symbolizes the oppression and injustice that happens, and the darkness that nestles in the hearts and minds of rapists, after it turned into the headquarters of security and military centers belonging to the organization

The province Raqqa had four churches; two in the city are the Saida Bshara and the martyrs church, the tow martyrs Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Tabqa city, and a church in the city of Tel Abyad.

Noteworthy that the number of Christian families in Raqqa was more than / 1500 / family before control of ISIS over the city, half of whom are Greek Orthodox and the other half from all other Christian denominations, but the number of these families do not exceed today 25 families only, so as to not being able to leave the city, and because they are poorer at all.