Arabic 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 Syrian Bashar al-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!’”
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.
New information has just emerged concerning the recent killing of a young Armenian man, Minas, for refusing to convert to Islam, again at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (so much for their claims that they do not threaten Christians to convert).
He was reportedly killed in one of ISIL’s dungeons in Aleppo, north Syria, which has a notable Armenian minority.
According to iNews, “Minas and his father were held in ISIL’s prison for 115 days, according to one activist, and his accusation was that he refused to submit [to Islam, i.e., convert].”
iNews adds that activists from the region sent the accompanying picture, saying it is of the slain Minas. Others confirm that the picture is of a slain Armenian in Syria, but not of Minas. In any case, the man appears to be wearing the garments of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Aleppo.
The same report mentions other Christian Armenians slaughtered, including one who reportedly had “his head chopped off and placed in a biscuit box.”