Christian leaders in the Islamist-controlled Syrian city of Raqqa signed a submission document on Sunday that bans them from practicing Christianity in public, an Israeli newspaper reported.
The document reportedly states that Christians in Raqqa — captured last March by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, previously a branch of al Qaeda — were recently given an ultimatum: Convert to Islam, sign a dhimma contract or "face the sword."
Raqqa's Christian community reportedly chose to sign the dhimma contract, which refers to non-Muslim citizens of an Islamic state having to pay taxes, known as jizya, in submission to Islam.
"The authenticity of the document, displaying the stamp of al Qaeda, could not be independently verified," the Times of Israel reported. "The signatures of 20 Christian leaders at the bottom of the document said to have been party to the agreement were blotted out, ostensibly at their own request."
In return for their pledge, the newspaper reported, local ISIS commander Ibrahim Al-Badri promised that Christians in the city would not to be subjected to physical harm or religious targeting.
"If they adhere to these conditions, they will be close to God and receive the protection of Mohammed his prophet ... none of their religious rights will be detracted nor will a priest or monk be wronged," the document concluded. "But if they disobey any of the conditions, they are no longer protected and ISIS can treat them in a hostile and warlike fashion."
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