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Mozambique: Islamic State demands Christians convert or pay tax

Christians, mostly Roman Catholics, constitute 59% of Mozambique’s population; Muslims comprise 19%. However, the Islamic State (ISIS) has begun to step up operations in the country’s gas-rich northeast, where the Muslim population is largely concentrated.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Mozambique, see here.

“IS Mozambique demands Christians and Jews convert or pay tax to Islamic State – Zitamar,” Zitamar News, November 18, 2022:

Islamic State Mozambique (ISM) has reiterated its intention to establish a caliphate in a message vowing to slaughter all Christians and Jews unless they convert to Islam or pay tax, despite lacking the organisational means to enforce such a tax. The message also declares “endless war” on the Mozambican army and calls on Muslims to collaborate or face consequences.

Images of the handwritten message emerged on social media around 10 November, with indications it was found in Macomia district. The note is addressed to the “Mozambican crusader army,” Muslims, and Christians and Jews in Mozambique, in that order.

To the army, ISM asserts: “We will escalate the war against you until you submit to Islam… Our desire is to kill you or be killed, for we are martyrs before God, so submit or run from us.”

ISM states that their war is not with “those who claim to be Muslims” but demands that they cease collaborating with the “godless government” or else “there is nowhere you can hide that we cannot reach.”

In their message to the Christians and Jews, ISM offers three choices: submit to Islam, pay tax, or accept “endless war.”…

The three choices have appeared across Islamic State propaganda. In August, IS Central African Province released a video addressed to “Congolese Christian rulers” declaring that they would wage war “until God establishes one of these three for you: Islam, jizya, or [continuous]fighting.”

Jizya refers to a tax levied on non-Muslims in many Islamic societies across history. The previous issue of the IS weekly newsletter Al Naba, published 10 November, also carried the demand that Jews and Christians convert or pay jizya….

In any case, the message represents an attempt to adopt the trappings of a ‘caliphate’ in line with the stated objectives of the Islamic State leadership, which has reportedly criticised ISM for undermining the establishment of an Islamic government by terrorising the population out of Cabo Delgado. The Centre for Investigative Journalism in Mozambique claimed in October that ISM commander Ibn Omar had been summoned to a meeting of IS senior members in the Democratic Republic of Congo and told to stop killing so many civilians and start charging taxes.

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