(CNSNews.com) – An Iraqi Christian who fled for his life from Mosul says that his Muslim neighbors welcomed the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) and told him “this land belongs to Islam.”
“We left Mosul because ISIS came to the city. The (Sunni) people of Mosul embraced ISIS, and drove the Christians out of the city,” the unnamed Christian refugee, who reportedly fled from Mosul to Lebanon, told Lebanese LBC/LDC TV in a July 30 interview translated by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“When ISIS entered Mosul, the people hailed them and drove out the Christians,” he said in the video interview with a young child sitting on his lap. “Why did they expel just the Christians from Mosul? There are many sects in Mosul. Why just the Christians? ”he asked.
“This is nothing new,” he added. “Even before, the Christians could not go anywhere. The Christians have faced threats of murder, kidnapping, jizya (a tax imposed on non-Muslims).”
“This is nothing new,” the Iraqi man continued. “I was told to leave Mosul. They said that this was a Muslim country, not a Christian one. I am being very honest. They said that this land belongs to Islam and that Christians should not live there.”
The interviewer interrupted him. “Who told you that?”
“The people who embraced ISIS, the people who lived there with us,” he replied.
“Your neighbors?” she asked.
“Yes, my neighbors,” he said, “Our neighbors and other people threatened us. They said: 'Leave before ISIS gets you.' What does that mean? Where would we go?”
“Christians have no support in Iraq,” he said, “Whoever claims to be protecting the Christians is a liar, a liar.”
Al-Monitor reported last month that the Sunni inhabitants of Mosul “see the Iraqi army as a Shiite occupation army from Baghdad, and some (Sunni) civilians welcomed ISIS when they entered Mosul and removed all Iraqi army checkpoints.”