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Syria: Elderly Christian Man Forced to Convert to Islam for Not Paying Tax

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Jun 15
  • Comments

An elderly man in Syria has been forced to convert to Islam after he was unable to keep paying the “jizya” tax that ISIS requires.


According to, ISIS’ Amaq news agency released a video in which the man, named Mostafa Abu Alzer, recites the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith. Although in the video Abu Alzer says he voluntarily converted to Islam, Christian aid groups say he was forced to convert.


Abu Alzer lives in Raqq, Syria, an ISIS stronghold. The Islamic militants have given Christians in Raqqa three choices: flee the city, convert to Islam, or pay the tax. If they refuse to do one of these, they could face death.


Christians who choose to remain in the ISIS-controlled city are also under strict rules. They cannot publicly display crosses or gather to worship. They also cannot recite Bible verses or mock Islam.


According to activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), there are fewer than 50 Christian families remaining in the city.


Aid groups fear that the recent ban on leaving the city means that the militants intend on using the remaining Christian citizens as “human shields or hostages.”



Photo courtesy:


Publication date: June 15, 2016