The Assyrian International News Agency is reporting that the Islamic State (IS) has released a video that shows an Assyrian Christian man voluntarily converting to Islam.
The video, which is titled “From The Dark To The Light,” was released Monday. It shows a militant and a man whom IS claims is an Assyrian, whom the militant refers to as “Abu Omar.” The Assyrian man says he has become a Muslim and calls on his family and all Assyrians to convert from Christianity to Islam.
The IS militant in the video says that “Abu Omar” accepted Islam voluntarily. However, the “conversion” may well have been carried out under duress, according to the Assyrian International News Agency.
The Assyrian in the video is almost certainly one of the 200 Assyrian Christian men, women and children who are still being held captive by IS after the terrorists overran villages on the southern bank of the Khabur River, near the town of Tal Tamer, in Syria’s Hasaka Province in February.
Assyrian political activists say that IS militants took around 220 Assyrian Christians hostage during the offensive, while other Assyrians fled the area, leaving entire villages empty.
The militants released 16 men and three women on March 1, but fears are growing for the 200 Assyrian Christians who remain in IS captivity.
IS has systematically targeted religious minorities in both Syria and Iraq, forcing them to convert to Islam, flee, pay tax as non-Muslims or “face the sword.”
Assyrian leaders have said that IS persecution of Christians has become genocide.
Open Doors USA is conducting a prayer campaign for Syria at https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/pray/tag-prayer-updates-post/prayers-for-syria-1/. Approximately 3.8 million Syrians have left the country. That includes approximately 40 percent (500,000) from the Christian community. Open Doors continues to work with churches and Christian partners inside Syria to provide food, clothes, medical supplies and trauma counseling.
Syria is ranked No. 4 on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.