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Syria: Armenian Christians Pressured to Convert to Islam

by Raymond Ibrahim

yhArabic language websites reported earlier this week that the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant—which, throughout the course of the war against the Assad government has committed any number of atrocities, from decapitating “infidels” to burning churches—has successfully “forced” two Armenian Christian families to convert to Islam.

A video accompanies some of these reports.  In it, what appears to be an elderly Armenian man stands alongside an Islamic cleric who announces the Christian man’s conversion to Islam—to thunderous cries of “Allahu Akbar!”   In his exultation, the cleric makes exuberant statements like “You see, we have no honor without Islam—without proclaiming aloud that “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet!” (Without the religious jargon, this is simply another way of saying, “Only by joining our team can you ever escape dishonor,” the lot of all non-Muslim, subhuman “infidels.”)

The cleric also adds that, because the man is the head of his household, his Christian wife and children are all now Muslim as well—“all praise to Allah!”  Naturally, if they reject their new Islamic identity, they become “apostates,” a crime punishable by death.

The rather flippant and sarcastic text that accompanies this video points out the obvious:

After decades of peaceful coexistence between the various religions of Syria, and after decades of living under the moderate form of Levantine Islam … these two Armenian families were none too keen on entering Islam or learning of its eminence—except at the hands of DAASH [al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], which has been presenting a “rosy” picture of Islam and Muslims, by way of chopping heads, whipping people, and general repression.  Thus did these two Christian Armenian families finally enter Islam, “willingly”—but only at the hands of DAASH.

In other words, it’s “curious,” to say the least, that Christians who for generations lived amid moderate Muslim majorities in Syria but opted to remain Christian, are now “suddenly” attracted to Islam—and at the hands of a jihadi organization that has been bombing churches, kidnapping and beheading Christians, and even teaching children to slaughter Christians wherever they may be found….

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