Although Mosul was once considered a center of Christianity in northern Iraq. All Christians-- whether they were killed or fled persecution-- are believed to be gone from the city when it was occupied by ISIS in 2014. (The Associated Press)
Having driven the last Christian out of Mosul, ISIS has now released a chilling video showing a bonfire consuming a huge pile of Bibles and other Christian literature.
The video, entitled “Diwan of education destroys Christian instruction books in Mosul,” was made by ISIS’ “morality police,” the infamous Diwan Al-Hisbah, according to Christian Today. It comes as the U.S. is deliberating over whether to label the terrorist group’s actions in Iraq as genocide, a term that has important ramifications under international law.
“It’s another example that ISIS means what they say,” David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA, told FoxNews.com. “That’s what makes the debate so powerful. They want elimination and they are very serious.”
While ISIS has killed, enslaved and displaced hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians, the destruction of religious materials could also be part of a genocide determination.
The House voted unanimously Monday to approve a resolution branding ISIS’ actions as genocide, which the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide defines in part as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
“This video is the first specifically showing the burning of Christian books,” officials for the Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor team for the Middle East Media Research Institute said in a statement to FoxNews.com.
“It is in line with ISIS’ treatment of Christians, which MEMRI regularly monitors in ISIS publications. There is not any particularly new or recent trend in regard to ISIS’s treatment of Christians, which has been consistent in its statements and actions since ISIS declared its caliphate in 2014.”
Mosul, long considered a haven for Iraq’s Christian population, was overrun by militants in 2014. After the takeover, ISIS demanded that Christians convert to Islam, pay a tax known as a jizya, or flee the city. Although Mosul was once considered a center of Christianity in the region, all Christians are believed to be gone from the city.
The Christian population of Iraq has dropped from 1.5 million to 275,000 since ISIS established its caliphate.
“The stated purpose [of ISIS] to eliminate and force the Christians and Yazidi people out of the region,” Curry said. “They are succeeding. The Christian population in the region has greatly diminished.”
Bible bonfire: ISIS video shows Christian books being destroyed, adds fuel to genocide debate
By Perry Chiaramonte