ISIS-held Assyrian hostage converts to Islam

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ARA News
Sargon David coverts to Islam after two months of detention by ISIS militants in northeastern Syria.
Dohuk, Kurdistan Region – The Media Center of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) in “al-Barakah state” (in reference to Hasakah, northeastern Syria) released Monday a videotape showing the Islamization of an Assyrian hostage held by the group.

Sargon David, an Assyrian man from Tel Temit in northeastern Syria, who had been held hostage by the group since the militants stormed the Assyrian villages in the area.

David appeared in the video uttering the Islamic Shahada in a sign of conversion to Islam. He was then named by the group’s militants as Abu Omar.

The IS group addressed the Christian community in Syria in the video message saying that many of the Assyrian residents in the countryside of Tel Temir have converted to Islam “and received the caliphate’s blessing”.

“Many of them (Assyrian hostages and stranded civilians) converted to Islam without any pressure from our side. They’ve chosen the right side of history,” a leading member of the group said.

David clarified that he “voluntarily” converted to Islam and called Syrian Christians to convert to the Islamic religion.

Speaking to ARA News, a local source in Hasakah reported (on condition of anonymity) that the filming of the Assyrian man took place in the village of Tel al-Jayer, which was renamed recently by the group as Tel Bashayer (30 km northeast Shaddadi town in Hasakah province).

“The Islamic State is holding Assyrian abductees in this village following sudden attacks on Tel Temir’s surrounding villages by the Kurdish fighters and allies last February,” the source added.

Speaking to ARA News in Qamishli, Syrian Kurdish journalist Egid Yusuf said that the Assyrians would not simply convert to another religion if not under torture or threatened with death.

“By such acts, the group aims to attract the sympathy of Muslims worldwide. This is mere propaganda through which the group tries to show mercy towards Christian hostages after obliging them to convert to Islam,” he said.

In the beginning of March 2015, the Islamic State group released 19 Christian Assyrians, including two women who were released after negotiations with Arab tribal figures in Hasakah province. However, hundreds of other Assyrians are still being held by the group, most of whom are being held in the town of Shaddadi in the province.

Reporting by: Sarbaz Yusuf

Source: ARA News