The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is partially funding itself from taxes on Christians in Raqqa, the center of ISIS’s control in Syria. The jizya is a centuries old tax imposed by Islam against Christians and Jews in accordance with the plain text of the Koran. The jizya is dangerous not only because it discriminates against non-Muslims, but because it is often used in modern days as a revenue source by Islamic terrorist groups.
Those in the West who support religious freedom and equal protection under the law, and those who claim that we should “follow the money” when any nefarious activities are observed, have an obligation to speak out against the jizya anytime and anywhere it appears.
…It was previously thought by many that the entire Christian population of Raqqa had fled the city or had been killed by ISIS after it ousted Syrian troops in January 2014. Yet, several families remain in the city after paying a jizya (tax) and signing a dhimma (sharia social contract) that prevents them being killed by the radical Islamists.
“There are a couple of families left in Raqqa. I was surprised,” says Nuri Kino, founder and president of A Demand For Action, a group advocating the protection of ethnoreligious minorities such as Assyrians and Yazidis in the Middle East.
“I spoke to a Syriac man who only left Raqqa about six weeks ago. He turned up at an association in Germany. It turns out that some families actually are in Raqqa, paying jizya and are being protected by their former neighbors, Sunni Muslim neighbors, as long as they follow the Sharia laws.”
Muslims who lived in the city prior to ISIS’s arrival are protecting the Christians—who have been the subject of some ISIS propaganda releases in the city; for example, having the Quran read to them—from death at the hands of the radical Islamists.
“They have a document that they have with them wherever they go, that says they are protected by the Sharia, by the court, that they have been to the court, that they are paying jizya and that they also have some kind of sponsor or protector.”
The jizya and the dhimma allows minorities protection from a brutal death as dictated by the group’s radical strand of Islamic law. The group has implemented it in other areas of Syria, such as the Christian town of Al-Qaryatayn. The ultra-conservative group considers ancient religious minorities, such as Syriac Catholics, Assyrians and Yazidis, to be kafir (disbelievers) and infidels.
Such rules in the social contract include prayers being forbidden in public, prayers at home not being loud enough so that others can hear them, the outlawing of renovations to churches, not showing religious symbols and the outlawing of the ringing of church bells…