Last week, ISIS reportedly issued an ultimatum to Christians that they must convert to Islam, flee or face the sword. Earlier this month ISIS had allowed Christians to pay a non-Muslim tax known as jizya. On July 17, Christians were notified that jizya was no longer an option. They must now convert, flee or die.Related: Trampled in Abraham’s dust: The destruction of Near Eastern Christianity (Franck Salameh, Jerusalem Post).
Among the last Christians to leave the city were monks – residents of the ancient Mar Behnam Monastery – who left behind them 1,400 years of rich Christian tradition, as ISIS refused to let the monks take any of their precious relics with them.
Despite its antiquity and rich tradition, Christianity in Iraq is on the brink of eradication.
The heirs to those who first discovered the tomb of Jonah, and those who helped to keep Greek philosophy alive in the medieval period, are being ejected from their homes and from a land they have held sacred for centuries. This is the face and reality of Christian persecution.
Jonah was one of the earliest symbols of the resurrection for Christians. Will Christianity ever rise again in Iraq?
Background here and links.