The ISIS Genocide of Middle Eastern Christian Minorities and Its Jizya Propaganda Ploy, a report written by Nina Shea and released last week by the Hudson Institute, is a must-read for those of us who are committed to raising awareness of and bringing an end to the genocide of Christians in the Middle East.
It has been widely reported by news media that ISIS has offered some Christians the option of paying jizya, an Islamic tax, in order to remain as Christians in the territories it controls. This claim has been repeated by several influential sources—including the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic—and has been used to undercut the argument that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians.
In her report, Shea examines this claim and concludes that ‘ISIS has never offered a traditional jizya option to Christians anywhere.’ Shea explains that, in ‘every known case where ISIS has used the term “jizya,”’ Christians have received, at most, short-lived protection ‘followed by murder, enslavement, captivity, rape, torture, or complete dispossession’— all of which is ‘evidence of genocide.’ Moreover, Shea claims that no Christians in ISIS-controlled territories have been able to worship in Christian churches or receive sacraments.
Shea’s report offers the most comprehensive analysis of this issue, relying on numerous witness accounts of Christians who have lived in ISIS-controlled territories, including the priest who negotiated directly with ISIS in Mosul.