Relaymedia

Assyrian Christians in Sweden Receive Chilling Graffiti Message from ISIS: 'Convert or Die'

( [email protected] ) Oct 19, 2015 01:32 PM EDT
Christians living in one of Sweden's largest cities have been threatened with chilling messages linked to the Islamic State terrorist group, according to local reports.
The graffiti painted on a restaurant warns Christians to convert or they will be killed.

Christians living in one of Sweden's largest cities have been threatened with chilling messages linked to the Islamic State terrorist group, according to local reports.

The Daily Mail reports that last Tuesday, symbols and other graffiti associated with the Muslim extremist group were found painted on two stores owned by Assyrian Christians in Gothenburg, Sweden's second-largest city.

Along with the ISIS logo, "the caliphate is here", "convert or die" and the Arabic letter 'N', ن - a sign of persecution historically used to mark individuals out as Nazarenes- were also painted on the walls of the Le Pain Francois bakery and the next-door pizzeria.

Notes the report, "The messages bear all the hallmarks of the chilling psychological warfare employed by ISIS in the Middle East, but as yet Swedish police have been unable to track down those responsible."

Pizzeria owner Yusuf Asmar compared the situation to that of the Jews in Nazi Germany: "It feels extremely uncomfortable that this has come to Gothenburg, Sweden," he said. "There is no doubt that it is directed at me as a Christian and Assyrian... It feels like persecution of Jews in the 30s when Jews in Germany had Stars of David painted on its doors. Now it happens here".

He also lamented that under Swedish law, radical Islamists and ISIS supporters appeared free to come and go as they pleased, a situation "politicians must take seriously".

Police inspector Bertil Claesson said that while they would look into the graffiti, it will be difficult to investigate and wouldn't be classified as a hate crime.

"No witnesses or forensic evidence that can be traced, it is almost impossible to investigate such cases," he said. "The only possibility is if someone has seen something and we get tips from the public".

Earlier this year, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported that at least 150 people had travelled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS from Gothenburg, according to Breitbart. Terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp has called the city "the Swedish Center for Jihadists", despite it having a relatively small population of 490,000.

ISIS, which has been persecuting Christians and other religions minorities across Iraq and Syria in an attempt to establish an Islamic caliphate, has specifically targeted Assyrians, looking to drive them out of their millennia-old communities.

Last week, ISIS killed three Assyrian Christian captives who were among nearly 200 abducted earlier this year in northeastern Syria. The group has threatened to execute 180 more Assyrian Christians should negotiators fail to meet the jihadists' high ransom price.

The killings have been condemned by numerous persecution watchdog groups, including A Demand for Action.

"We condemn this latest act of barbarism in the strongest possible terms. The systematic ethno-religious cleansing of Assyrians/Syriacs/Chaldeans continues. They are helpless. They are children. They are women. They are somebody's father and brother," wrote A Demand for Action spokesperson Diana Yaqco.

"We plea and beg of the international community to intervene immediately," Yaqco added. "We have been driven out of our ancestral lands. We have been killed and crucified. The international community must act now to save lives of others kidnapped."