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Current Page: World | Friday, April 10, 2015
ISIS Demands $30 Million for Release of 300 Kidnapped Assyrian Christians

ISIS Demands $30 Million for Release of 300 Kidnapped Assyrian Christians

Assyrians hold banners as they march in solidarity with the Assyrians abducted by Islamic State fighters in Syria earlier this week, in Beirut, Labanon, February 28, 2015. Militants in northeast Syria are now estimated to have abducted at least 220 Assyrian Christians this week, a group monitoring the war reported. | (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)

Terror group ISIS has reportedly asked for $30 million to free the 250 to 300 Assyrian Christians it kidnapped in February.

Fox News reported on an officer within the Assyrian leadership who revealed that the jihadis are asking for $100,000 per individual.

"They know we cannot come up with this kind of money, so they are hoping other groups and countries will come up with the money," said the official, who wasn't named.

The Christians were kidnapped from 35 different villages in the Hasakah province in February following a major ISIS attack.

Although the terror group later released 23 of the hostages, it has been attempting to force the other Christians to abandon their faith and convert to Islam.

Late in March, the Islamic State, as the group is also known, released a video showing the supposed "voluntary" conversion of one such hostage. The footage shows a man from the village of Tel Temit declaring that Muhammad is God's prophet.

"These forms of propaganda are repugnant, offend the conscience of every man and should provoke rebellion also on behalf of Muslims who have true religious piety," Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, head of the Syrian Catholic archeparchy in Hassaké-Nisibi, said in response to the video.

"It is obvious that the moral and physical violence on persons held hostage is another manifestation of barbarism in which we have fallen. We pray that the Lord helps and consoles those who suffer in his name."

One of the Assyrians who was released, identified as Robert, said that the other hostages have refused to convert.

"They kept pressuring us to convert to Islam. It was their constant focus. But we were not mistreated." Robert said.

"We said we would not convert. They said you must then pay the jizya [a Christian poll tax] or leave the country. That was the option given to us. We said we would pay the jizya but we would not convert."

American-led coalition forces have hit back against ISIS' conquests in Iraq and Syria, though the militants maintain a stronghold on a number of cities and towns that used to have significant Christian populations.

Earlier in February, ISIS released a video titled "A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross," in which they showed the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians that had been kidnapped in Libya.

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