Christian Iraqi refugee children take part in a Christmas ceremony in Ankawa, the Christian quarter of Erbil. (Photo courtesy of Aleteia)
After a year of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria purging Christian minorities from its self-declared caliphate, Iraqi and Syrian Christians are facing muted celebrations this Christmas.
“Talk of Christmas and Christian occasions is forbidden under ISIS,” said Sulaiman Youssef, a Syrian researcher on minorities.
“The group has destroyed, torched and looted all churches, and barred any display of Christian faith. They also forced the hijab and Islamic way of dress on Christian women, and killed several Christian men for refusing to obey their orders.”
Faced with the option of either paying a tax, converting to Islam or fleeing, almost no Christians now live in ISIS-controlled areas in Syria, Youssef said…