ASIA/SYRIA - 25 Christian families still in Raqqa. Obligation to pay a "protection tax"

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Raqqa (Agenzia Fides) – In Raqqa, the city of northern Syria which has become a stronghold of the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) since 2014, counts only 23 Christian families of the 1500 who lived there before the beginning of the Syrian conflict. The violence of Islamist fanaticism strikes down on this small community made up of Armenian Christians, who were unable to leave the city for lack of resources or because of age and health reasons with the methodical aspect of the administrative and bureaucratic practices: they have recently been informed about the parameters of the jizya, the "protection tax" they will have to pay from 16 November if they do not want to be expelled and dispossessed of their homes and that amounts to the equivalent of $ 535. The information reported by the Christians in Raqqa, was released by the Arab site, In all likelihood Christian families, impoverished by the war, will not be able to pay the tax and will have to leave their homes.
The jizya tax had to be paid, until the nineteenth century, by every non-Muslim subject to the Islamic authorities as a clause of the "pact" which guaranteed them protection from external aggression and freedom of worship. In Raqqa the jihadists of Is - who took total control of the city in early 2014, after having met with other Islamist anti-Assad factions - have turned the main Armenian church in offices for the management of Islamic affairs and the promotion of sharia. In the stronghold city the militia of the Islamic State have already expropriated the property of the Christians fled, and they also organized symbolic actions, such as the burning of Bibles and Christian books. The kidnapping of the Jesuit Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio is attributed to the jihadist faction of IS. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 15/11/2014)