Christians in Mosul, Iraq, Pay “Protection” Tax

By:  Warren Mass
Christians in Mosul, Iraq, Pay “Protection” Tax

Since militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group (ISIS) seized control of the northern city of Mosul earlier this month, life for Christians in the city has predictably worsened.

Salama al-Khafaji, a member of the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq and a former member of the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council, told the Arabic-language Alsumaria News that the ISIS occupation regime “is imposing on Christians a minimum payment of $250, with [the] amount varying depending on the type of work/profession performed by Christian citizens.” 

The ISIS is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Al-Khafaji is a Shiite who does not want Iraq to become a theocracy. She was trained as a dentist and believes in giving women a role in Iraq’s government. Therefore, she has little use for the brand of Islamic militancy of ISIS. The Blaze quoted al-Khafaji’s statement to Alsumaria News, in which she expressed sympathy for the plight of Christians in Mosul:

The economic situation in Mosul is extremely difficult, and there are no financial resources or job opportunities except for vegetable shops; any other businesses are non-existent. Citizens are at a loss now as to how to make ends meet; how can they pay those amounts to ISIS?

The ISIS has imposed the “jizya,” which under Islamic law is a per capita tax levied on an Islamic state’s non-Muslim residents. In theory, non-Muslim subjects paying the jizya should be permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to the Muslim state’s protection from outside aggression, and to be exempt from the zakat tax levied on Muslim citizens. However, any “protection” Christians in Mosul receive from the ISIS is likely to be more like the “protection” American gangsters used to provide to compliant store owners, than protection against any outside aggressors. 

The jizya has been eliminated by legitimate governments throughout the Muslim world; however, the ISIS is not a government, but an Islamic militant group founded by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

On October 4, 2011, the U.S. State Department had listed al-Baghdadi as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” and offered a $10-million reward for information leading to his capture or death.

Al-Baghdadi moved to Syria after the beginning of that country's revolution against Bashar al-Assad, and in April 2013 announced the merger of his group with Syria’s Jabhat al Nusra, with himself still in overall command, under the new name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The situation of Christians in Mosul is but a small part of the hardship and outright persecutions that Iraqi Christians have suffered since the United States and its allies forcibly removed Saddam Hussein from power to enforce illegitimate UN “resolutions.”

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Photo: St. Elijah's Monastery, south of Mosul, dating from the sixth century

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