The Islamist State group ISIS has told the Christians in Mosul they face death if they do not embrace Islam or pay tax, reports Al-Jazeera. Defiant Christians have started painting 'We are all Christians' on their homes, reports Twitter.
The Sunni rebel group issued the orders in a letter after Friday prayers. The document, obtained by Al Jazeera, states that the order was issued after Christian leaders failed to attend a meeting called by the group.
In response, the group says in the letter that Christians must either convert to Islam, pay a tax on non-Muslims known as jiziya, or give up their possessions and leave the city. Failure to do so would result in a death penalty, 'as a last resort.'
Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, was overrun by the Islamic State group and allied rebel groups last month.
The Iraqi army units stationed in the city, most of whom were Shia, fled after the group crossed from Syria and attacked the north of Iraq.
Before the attack, Mosul's Christian community was estimated at 3,000. Many are believed to have already fled the city as part of an exodus of up to one-third of the population. Those who fled reported that churches and Christian-owned shops in the city were smashed.
Church leaders in Iraq have not responded to the threats officially. Nickolay Mladenov, the head of the UN assistance mission In Iraq, condemned the order.
Iraq Christians get Islamic State's warning (Al-Jazeera)
Reistance against ISIS (Twitter)
Iraqi Christians given stark ultimatum (Huffington Post/Ucanews)
The Muslim who gave up his life for Mosul’s Christians (Vatican Insider)