Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul.
The statement issued by the Islamic State, the al Qaeda offshoot which led last month’s lightning assault to capture swathes of north Iraq, and seen by Reuters, said the ruling would come into effect on Saturday.
It said Christians who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a “dhimma” contract – a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya”.
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