Foreign Policy Digital

ISIS’s Church Attacks Break Mohammed’s Own Pledges

Assaults on Christian sites show terrorists are apostates as well as murderers.

The attacks by an Islamic State-affiliated group against Christians on Easter morning in Sri Lanka last month fall into a long-established pattern. Back when the Islamic State was expanding in northern Iraq in 2014 and 2015, the region’s 1 million Christians were some of its main targets, as well as Yazidis, Shiite Muslims, and other religious minorities. Churches were razed and Christians issued with an ultimatum: exile, conversion, or death.

The end result has been a brutal and depressingly thorough religious and ethnic cleansing. For the Islamic State, destroying churches and killing Christians came second only to its top priority of killing other so-called apostate Muslims—Shiite and Sufi Muslims in particular. But although the Islamic State claimed to be acting in the name of Islam, its

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