Syrian rebel forces reportedly looking for protection money in the form of gold from Christian population

March 3, 2014

Radical Muslim rebel groups in Syria reportedly are shaking down the Christian population for protection money in the form of gold.

In a document released by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the groups stated that a “protection pact” or “Aqed al-Thima” was coordinated and reached in a meeting last Thursday with 20 Christian leaders from the northern province of Raqqa.

The authenticity of the two-page document, which has been circulating online this week, has not been independently verified, but could stoke fears among Syria’s Christian minority population that they are becoming targets by extremists looking to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

“It underscores that fact that as a Christian you are left with the choice between siding with a dictator or siding with the rebels,” Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which advocates for Christians in the States and in the Middle East, said to “If the Civil War ends, what will stop them from being in danger from extremists?”

“This is the difficult choice that they [Christians in Syria] face—try to survive or lose your faith and die or side with a dictator whose crimes have repulsed the world?”

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