Members of Kurdish security forces take up positions in Mosul. (Reuters photo)
The US has condemned in thestrongest terms the systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
"We are outraged by ISIS's recent announcement that Christians in Mosul must either convert, pay a tax, leave, or face execution in the coming days," State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.
"We have also seen photos of reportedly Christian houses in Mosul marked with pejorative terms for Christians, as well as reports that Shia and Shabak houses have been similarly marked. ISIS also continues to target Sunni clerics and tribal sheikhs who disagree with its dark vision for Iraq," she said. These abominable actions only further demonstrate ISIL's mission to divide and destroy Iraq and contradict Islam's spirit of tolerance and peaceful co-existence, Psaki said, adding that it should be clear that ISIS is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq, but a threat to the entire region.
"This growing threat exemplifies the need for Iraqis from all communities to work together to confront this common enemy and to take all possible steps to isolate these militant groups from the broader population," she said. "We encourage government officials in Baghdad and Erbil to take every possible effort to assist Iraq's vulnerable populations and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions in a manner consistent with the rule of law.
The US stands with all the Iraqi people against the threat from ISIS," Psaki said.