Samer Kamil Yacub, age 70, was perhaps the last Christian to leave Mosul, Iraq, as reported by NBC News.
Why does that matter so much? Because Iraq has had a continuous Christian presence since the Apostle Thomas brought the gospel in the first century. That has now changed. That is why Yacub’s fleeing his home is a big deal!
Christians are fleeing a terrorist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). This ultra-militant Islamic body makes their sister organization, al Qaeda, look like grade-school children. ISIS took over much of Iraq and obliterated the border between Iraq and Syria. Not content to overthrow the governments of Iraq and Syria, they aspire to establish a caliphate, i.e. a religious state without borders.
An alternate name of ISIS is Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Levant are those states in the Middle East comprised of Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, and parts of southern Turkey. This name shows ISIS’s near-term goal of moving into other nations in the region, beginning with Lebanon and Jordan and ultimately establishing a larger caliphate in the Levant. As of this writing, ISIS has moved into Kurdish Iraq and has crossed the Lebanon border.
The ultimate goal would be a worldwide caliphate. Belgium is already being identified as “Belgistan” and it is said will likely be Islamic by 2030. Currently 25 percent of the population of Brussels, the Belgium capital, are Muslims.
In June, ISIS issued an ultimatum to the non-Muslims living in the portions of Iraq under ISIS control.
We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.
The first of the three choices is to renounce Christ (or for the secularist to renounce atheism) and convert – submit – to Islam. The second choice is the dhimma, an ancient Islamic concept in which non-Muslim citizens of a Muslim state pay a tax, the jizya. This is a material sign that the non-Muslims are subjugating themselves to the caliphate and Sharia law, submitting to the rule of Islam in exchange for one’s life. The third choice is to submit to the sword and die.
The jizya is established by the Quran in 9:29:
Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the Jizyah willingly while they are humbled.
In 2003 some 1.5 million Christians lived in Iraq, just over five percent of the population. Following the Iraq War and the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, hundreds of thousands of Christians fled. By 2013, the estimated Christian population was reduced to something between 200,000 and 450,000. Earlier this year 60,000 Christians remained in the city of Mosul. Following the June edict of ISIS the last Christian has left the city.
The world press has spotlighted Gaza as it writhes in pain and devastation. Gaza deserves coverage, to be sure. But the press has ignored tens of thousands of Christians suffering severe persecution in Syria and Iraq. They are fleeing with the clothes on their backs. They are being killed. Their homes and historic churches are being confiscated or destroyed.
Meanwhile, Islamists have turned their eyes on the West.
Given the current pace of Muslim immigration, most of Europe will be majority Islamic in one or two generations. The riots in France in recent weeks remind me of scenes from the Palestinian intifada. Is this the first European intifada? As demonstrations and riots over the Israeli-Gaza war spread in Europe, the ISIS flag is appearing everywhere. In many of these demonstrations the flag of the ISIS is raised by their supporters.
Note the ISIS flags in the video below of Muslims blocking a London tunnel.
We are also witnessing Western countries “paying tribute” to Islamic militants. In his July 29, 2014 article “Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror” for the New York Times, Rukmini Callimachi writes of the Jihadi groups’ new business model: kidnapping Westerners and holding them for ransom to fill their coffers for war against the West.
While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just last year.
Put more bluntly, Europe has become an inadvertent underwriter of Al Qaeda.
Is the West beginning to act like dhimma? Is this, like the appearance of ISIS flags in Europe, a precursor of the jizya?
Writing for the Religious Freedom Coalition, Dr. Marc Durie raises the question, “Does the West pay a “Jizya” to Arab States?” In the piece he points out the important distinction between “aid” and jizya:
Aid or jizya – the difference is crucial. Aid is a gift to friends. Jizya is an act of surrender. Western donors should be most wary of making military donations to sharia-compliant states. … One of the traditional uses of jizya by Islamic states is to fund further jihad, so belligerence can extract more jizya.
The jihadists are raising money in the West to wage jihad against the West. Can such a blatant anomaly really exist? (One is reminded of Jesus’ words, A house divided against itself cannot stand, Matthew 12:25.) The West is capitulating to the jihad’s system. Is this the precursor to the status of dhimma and payment of the jizya?
These events comprise a serious wake-up call for the West generally and Christians particularly. Will we set aside our video games long enough to see what is going on?
ISIS thinks nothing of removing the last Christian from Iraq. What would stop such resolve from bringing their war to the West?
- Darrow Miller
NOTE: We rarely solicit funds at Darrow Miller and Friends. However, if you have been moved by the plight of ethnic cleansing among Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq, and want a way to help, here are a couple of worthy avenues. My friends, Dr. George Grant and Dave Dillard, have been working in northern Iraq for some 15 years and have contacts with the church in Kurdistan. If you would like to help, see the links below. These will provide you, or your church, a way to get resources to those who are suffering. Please pass this information on to your friends. And please pray.