Tuesday, February 24, 2015


This is today's BBC Middle East News for  24 February 2015, "'Islamic State 'abducts dozens of Christians in Syria'"

At least 90 Assyrian Christians, men, women and children have been abducted by ISIS fighters who swept through a strong of villages along south bank of the Khabur River in north-eastern Syria during dawn raids on Monday. This is in Hassakeh province in Syria, where 40,000 Assyrian Nestorian Christians live, speaking Syriac, a form of Aramaic, the language of Christ.  Many Assyrians have fled Syria to escape extremist pressure to convert to Islam, to pay a religious levy or to face death.

Now tell me again that the conflict is not in any sense religiously motivated.

Furthermore, The group's aim is to establish a "caliphate", that is, a state ruled by a single political and religious leader according to Islamic law, or Sharia. As it seeks to move beyond its present confining borders of Iraq and Syria into Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, it demands that all swear allegiance to its leader - Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

ISIS is now commonly known as IS, and IS members are jihadists who adhere to an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam, considering themselves to be the only true believers. For them, the rest of the world is comprised of unbelievers who are seeking to destroy Islam, and that justifies IS attacks against other Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Beheadings, crucifixions and mass shootings have been used to terrorise their enemies. IS members have justified such atrocities by citing the Koranic verses that talk of "striking off the heads" of unbelievers, but Muslims have denounced them. Even al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who disavowed IS in February over its actions in Syria, warned Zarqawi in 2005 that such brutality loses "Muslim hearts and minds".

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