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Christians given ultimatum by Islamic State fighters

Sunday, July 20, 2014 - 01:35

Hundreds of Christians are driven out of Mosul after being issued an ultimatum by Islamic State fighters to either convert to Islam, pay a religious tax, or face the sword. Vanessa Johnston reports.

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Shi'ite militants fire machine guns in the Iraqi city of Tikrit Sunday. They're launching an assault to take back the city currently held by Islamic State fighters. So far, Baghdad has struggled to recapture cities seized by Sunni insurgents last month -- including the city of Mosul. Hundreds of Christians who were forced to flee there attend church services Sunday in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region. They had been given an ultimatum Thursday by the Islamic State: Convert to Islam, pay a religious tax, or face the sword. They chose to leave. This was head of the Islamic Supreme Council on Iraqi TV Sunday: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF ISLAMIC SUPREME COUNCIL, AMMAR AL-HAKIM, SAYING: (SOUNDBITE CONTINUES OVER SHOTS OF AUDIENCE) "The Christians at Nineveh plain and other places are used to living there for hundreds and thousands of years. They are the native people, now the armed gangs are targeting them and asking them to leave or they will be killed, so what Islam are they talking about? Islam is innocent of them and of their attitude. I call upon the brothers at home, including Turkman, Shabk, Christians and all the sects that are liable to genocide to stand in their lands and defend their areas because these areas are targeted to be changed demographically. " Parliament is due to meet next Wednesday to resume talks on choosing a political leadership to tackle the conflict.

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Christians given ultimatum by Islamic State fighters

Sunday, July 20, 2014 - 01:35