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Aleppo, Syria– The al-Qaeda-linked group of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) issued a statement on Wednesday calling on the Christian minority in Syria’s Raqqa to “abide by the regulations” of ISIL.
According to the statement, “the emir of believers, Abdullah Abo Bakir al-Bagdadi” (ISIL’s leader), provided protection to the Christians in Raqqa province, which included the protection of their property and their churches.
“Their churches are not to be destroyed or diminished, their property is not to be lessened and they will neither be forced to leave their religion nor be harmed,” the statement read.
However, the ISIL statement imposed certain regulations on the Christians, including the ban of building new churches or renovating the old ones (most of which has been recently destroyed by ISIL fighters).
“They (Raqqa’s Christians) will not be allowed to show their crosses in public, especially in Muslim-populated areas. Prayers and rituals in churches must be limited to the churches’ halls, and no loudspeakers are allowed,” ISIL said. The Islamist ISIL group has also banned ringing church’s bells, no matter the occasion.
The statement also warned the Christians not to carry out any aggressions against the ISIL, neither to accommodate any anti-ISIL “spies” nor help them hide or escape, demanding the Christians to cooperate with the group (ISIL) against any potential anti-ISIL plans.
“Any Christian is welcome to convert to Islam, and anyone who will try to prevent that will be mercilessly punished,” the ISIL statement concluded.
Notably, the ISIL seized a number of churches and houses which belonged to Christian residents in Raqqa city and its countryside and turned them into Shariaa advocacy headquarters. Many Christian families escaped the area with the growing power of the al-Qaeda-linked ISIL group.
Reporting by: Haya al-Abdullah
Source: ARA News