ISIL: Convert or Die . . . or Ransom Your Own Life!
Photograph by Matthew Fisher
From Raqqa in Syria to Mosul in Iraq, the advancing Sunni Islamist group ISIL (or ISIS) threatens not only Shia Muslims but also Christians, as reported by Matthew Fisher in "Convert to Islam or face the sword, Iraqi Christians told by Sunni extremists" (Postmedia News June 22, 2014):
Convert to Islam or face the sword . . . . was the stark message Christians in the Syrian city of Raqqa received last year when ultra-fundamentalist Sunni extremists, proclaiming themselves . . . members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), seized power and launched a reign of terror against Shiites and Christians that has included beheadings and at least three crucifixions . . . . [Because they were a]ware of ISIL's ferocious reputation for murder and mayhem, thousands of Christians who lived in Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh Plain fled in panic when ISIL rebels captured Iraq's second largest city from government forces on June 10 . . . . They all feared persecution at the hands of the insurgents who had suddenly arrived in their midst because they follow a harsh 7th century interpretation of the Qur'an that demands not only that women mostly stay indoors, but that church bells must never be rung, crosses must never be displayed and Christians must pay a “gold tax” in return for their lives.From the article itself, we see that the title is somewhat misleading. The choice of conversion or beheading was given by the ISIL in Raqqa, Syria, but not in Mosul, Iraq, where payment of a "gold tax" guarantees one's life, if one can trust the ISIL in such arrangements.
Incidentally, that "harsh 7th century interpretation of the Qur'an" is simply Islamic law, period.