BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq's dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul. The statement issued by the Islamic State, the al Qaeda offshoot which led last month's lightning assault to capture swathes of north Iraq, and seen by Reuters, said the ruling would come into effect on Saturday. It said Christians who wanted to remain in the "caliphate" that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a "dhimma" contract - a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as "jizya". "We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword," the announcement said. A resident of Mosul said the statement, issued in the name of the Islamic State in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, had been distributed on Thursday and read out in mosques. It said Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which the group has now named Caliph Ibrahim, had set a Saturday deadline for Christians who did not want to stay and live under those terms to "leave the borders of the Islamic Caliphate". "After this date, there is nothing between us and them but the sword," it said. The Nineveh decree echoes one that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the former name for the Islamic State, issued in the Syrian city of Raqqa in February, demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection. The concept of dhimma, governing non-Muslims living under Islamic rule, dates back to the early Islamic era in the seventh century, but was largely abolished during the Ottoman reforms of the mid-19th century. Mosul, once home to diverse faiths, had a Christian population of around 100,000 a decade ago, but waves of attacks on Christians since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein have seen those numbers collapse. The resident of Mosul who saw the Islamic State announcement estimated the city's Christian population before last month's militant takeover at around 5,000. The vast bulk of those have since fled, leaving perhaps only 200 in the city, he said. (Reporting by Dominic Evans and Isra' al-Rube'i; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
All these years later, one man still stands out to Jennifer Aniston when it comes to bad Friends guest stars. Why? You'll just have to keep reading.
Footage shared on Twitter by Andy Slater, a Fox Sports 640 radio host, shows a section of the building crumbling amid a plume of ash and debris.
"Family fireworks about to be ignited for our viewing entertainment," the longtime Trump fixer wrote.
- USA TODAY Sports
David DeCastro was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his last six seasons with the Steelers, who are going through a major reshuffling up front.
- In The Know
His wife did not take his side on the issue, however.
- Yahoo Canada Style
'It's a whole different face': Kylie Jenner fans react after viral TikTok compares old photos of the star
"She's literally not the same person."
- USA TODAY
The building had been sinking at an alarming rate - about 2 millimeters a year - according to a 2020 study.
- Business Insider
A US Air Force Ghostrider gunship crew received awards for saving 88 lives with nearly 2 hours of non-stop fire
The heavily armed gunship poured fire on the enemy, clearing the way for helicopters to rescue wounded troops.
- HuffPost Life
Erase these common phrases from your parenting vocabulary.
The Orioles hurler showed off his "filthy" knuckler in his MLB debut.
- Business Insider
Republican congressman warns 'more people will die' over false claims of 2020 election fraud after call for executions airs on pro-Trump media outlet
Rep. Peter Meijer, a Republican from Michigan, condemned a recent segment from One America News where a host called for executing "traitors."
- NBC Sports
Ben Simmons became the 76ers' scapegoat as soon as they lost to the Hawks.
- Women's Health
Her husband caught every sculpted angle on camera.
- Yahoo Sports
Scottie Pippen gives blunt assessment of Ben Simmons, Kevin Durant: 'He doesn’t have what LeBron has'
Scottie Pippen was brutally honest in his evaluation of some of the NBA's biggest names.
- Yahoo Sports
Gordon has worked for Fox ever since he retired from the Cup Series. Now he'll be the No. 2 man at Hendrick behind Rick Hendrick.
- NBC Sports Boston
What can Celtics fans expect from new head coach Ime Udoka? This 2015 quote from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich should generate plenty of excitement.
- The Daily Beast
Screenshot/YouTubeA massive country music festival in Kentucky this past weekend started off on rocky footing: Police found meth, marijuana, and an open bottle of alcohol in the first vehicle they stopped at a traffic checkpoint. One of the people in the car had two active warrants out for their arrest.“We were like, ‘Well, this doesn’t bode well for the weekend,’” Edmonson County Sheriff Shane Doyle told the Lexington Herald-Leader.Police said that by the end of the five-day bash, dubbed the “R
- NBC Sports BayArea
There are a lot of players the Warriors could select with their No. 7 and No. 14 picks on draft night. But who are some guys Golden State should stay away from?
- NBC Sports BayArea
With the lottery results now official, let's examine five players the Warriors could target on July 29.
- Kansas City Star
Chances are, you’ve never seen something like this at soccer game.