There was a sight to be seen in the territory previously held by ISIS (i.e. all of it) in Iraq and Syria last Christmas season: Christmas celebrations in the Muslim-majority nations.
With the Trump administration declaring an end to our involvement in Syria, now is a good time to reflect.
Christians were supposedly previously permitted to live “in humiliation” (their words) while paying the Jizya, a tax on Christians in Muslim lands. For those who can’t afford (or wouldn’t) pay, it’s convert or die. Given the tens of thousands of Muslims whom ISIS has killed, it goes without saying that most chose not to live under ISIS rule in any circumstances, and 90% of Iraq’s Christians were displaced. Roughly half of Syria’s Christians have fled since 2011.
With the terror group decimated (though given that “decimation” literally means losing 10% of your soldiers, that’s an understatement), Christians can finally practice their faith openly and freely once again in the areas previously controlled by the group.
Here are some of the photos and videos:
Iraqi Christians have raised a 30-ft. tall Christmas tree in Baghdad to celebrate both the holiday and the expulsion of ISIS extremists by Iraq Security Forces. pic.twitter.com/e96oaR5neN
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 23, 2017
— Methaq Al-fayyadh (@MethaqAlFayyadh) December 24, 2017
— Ali Ajeena (@AliAjeena) December 28, 2017
Mosul, Iraq (ISIS “capital” in Iraq):
The first Christmass mass in Mosul Iraq since June of 2014 When #isis took over the city, Mosul was completely liberated 5 months ago. A huge win in the war against #isis and radical terrorism. pic.twitter.com/cJi7xZQLkM
— Steven nabil (@thestevennabil) December 24, 2017
First Christmas celebration in Mosul, Iraq in 3 years takes place due to recent ISIS defeat; while most of the city's 35,000 Christians were killed or driven from the city by ISIS, a single church community remains; @BBCNews https://t.co/Lga6c4X2Dv #IS #Christian pic.twitter.com/I1Ov53xw2o
— David Donovan (@David_Donovan) December 25, 2017
Church volunteers are releasing sky lanterns with wishes during a #Christmas celebration in #Aleppo in Syria. After liberation, residents have for long been longing to celebrate, instead of burying loved ones https://t.co/YAh0UJjhXa pic.twitter.com/nUAHVLJY3z
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) December 22, 2017
— Gorsky Dmitry (@GorskyDmitry) December 28, 2017
إننا نؤمن بالسيد المسيح عليه السلام كما يؤمن به أخوتنا في الدين المسيحي
مهما اختلفت التفاصيل فما يجمعنا أكبر بكثير مما يفرقنا
للسيد المسيح روح الله كل القداسة و التبجيل
و ميلاده -أياً كان زمنه و تاريخه- بشارة للجميع
لكل المسيحيون و المسلمون : #عيد_ميلاد_مجيد#هون_حلب pic.twitter.com/qvaLhGmLNQ
— ☆العم علي☆🇸🇾 (@ali_haleb) December 24, 2017
— (لبیک یا مہدی (عج (@Zahra147441) December 25, 2017
Raqqa, Syria (ISIS “capital” in Syria):
— SyriacMilitaryMFS (@SyriacMFS) December 26, 2017
Pictures by @Delilsouleman of @AFP from the Christmas ceremony at the Armenian Church of Martyrs in Raqqa, Syria with the presence MFS, YPG/J commanders, fighters and civilians. pic.twitter.com/q5syo2jpgu https://t.co/V8LSho8zG6
— CoolPhone ن ☧ ✝ 💯 🇵🇱 (@koolphone) December 28, 2017
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) December 27, 2017
The scenes out of Raqqa, in particular, make an angry tweet from a liberal in May of 2016 seem quite hilarious. The woman who posted it was angrily responding to Judge Jeanine Pirro, who tweeted out a quote from Donald Trump that “we’ll be saying Merry Christmas” again.
“Do you live in Raqqa, Jeanine? No? Then you’ve always been able to say Merry Christmas.” Here’s the tweet (WARNING: Explicit Language):
Do you live in Raqqa, Jeanine? No? Then you've always been able to say Merry Christmas with nary a fuck given. https://t.co/butI6zxrZr
— Brooklyn Middleton (@BklynMiddleton) May 4, 2016
Well, good thing that problem was taken care of!
A brief sobering aside: The end of the ISIS “caliphate” doesn’t mean the end of ISIS. Their remaining members will be absorbed into other terror groups, and the groups lingering ideology will continue to inspire lone wolfs globally.
That being said, at their peak, nearly 10 million people lived under ISIS rule. That number has since fallen to essentially zero, and that’s nothing to downplay.
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