by Dru Hunsaker
Though Syria is no longer the controversial political minefield that it once was, unrest still rages throughout the city and several groups are profiting from the lack of order. Literally. In the Syrian city of Raqqa, an extremist Islamic group, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), is now demanding that Christian citizens pay up to 17 grams of gold (annually) to the group to ensure the safety of those individuals.
In additional to demanding money in return for safety, ISIS is limiting the freedoms of Christian citizens in multiple regards. Per the mandate of the organization, Christians may not share religious materials with anyone of the Islamic faith, make any public exhibition of their religion, trade pigs or alcohol in any Islamic markets, or consume alcohol in public places.
Many members of the Islamic nation have condemned the group, insisting that their actions are not consistent with the faith that they practice. As the nation becomes more and more overrun by extremist groups that impose strict, religious law, it is unknown how many Christians remain in the country.
ISIS originated as a part of al Qaeda, but later separated from the group. They continue to fight for control of the city of Raqqa with other rebel factions in the area.