The wildfire victories of the Islamic State (IS, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) in northern Iraq and Syria have left the area’s minorities under threat.
Torn between fighting back and leaving for good, Assyrians, Syriacs, Armenians, and Kurds, all inhabitants of the area and part of its rich historic legacy, are weighing their ever-diminishing options.
IS policies, inspired by a fanatical version of Islam, were made clear in its conquest of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. There, they destroyed Christian and Shiite places of worship and demanded that all non-Muslims pay the jizya, an ancient poll tax, observe a certain dress code, or convert to Islam.
Exile is another option that the IS has offered to the conquered population. Many escaped before the arrival of the hardened followers of the Al-Qaeda affiliate, which recently declared its leader a caliph and demanded that all Muslims obey him ...