Speaking from Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, having fled Mosul, Archbishop Nikodimos Daoud, the Syrian Orthodox Diocese of Mosul and Kurdistan Region, told Russia Today TV on July 23, 2014 that ISIS has been perpetrating "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" against the Christians of Mosul. Archbishop Daoud said that Mosul Christians were given a choice to convert to Islam, to pay the jizya poll tax, or to be killed.
Nikodimos Daoud: The expulsion (of the Christians from Mosul) has been going on for 40 days. I decided to keep quiet during this period, and I was not willing to give any statement to anybody, out of fear for the Christians who remained in Mosul. But now that there are no longer any Christians in Mosul, after they were driven from their homes, and forced, in an arbitrary, terrorist, and brutal manner, to leave the city, there is no longer any point to keeping silent, and I have decided that it is necessary to speak to the public. What is happening, or what has happened, to all of us - to me, to my congregation, and to all the Christians of all sects in Mosul - can be described in a single word: genocide. That's right. I'd like to emphasize the word "genocide," or "ethnic cleansing," call it what you like.
After the city fell, the Christians began to leave the place, out of fear for the terrifying reputation of ISIS, but many remained there. (ISIS) began by reassuring the people, saying that they had come for their sake, to protect them, and to rescue them from the clutches of the Safavid (Iraqi) army, and other similar slogans. We Christians do not take either side. We have fallen victim to the bitter Shiite-Sunni battle, from which the entire country is suffering. But we have nothing to do either with the Sunnis or with the Shiites. We are native citizens of this country. We are the ones who received them in our midst. We introduced Islam into Iraq and educated the Muslims in Iraq. We were the ones who translated books so that the Muslims could be educated. We regret having translated those books for them. But our problem is not with the Muslims or with Islam. We lived for over 1,500 years with the Muslims and with Islam. Our problem is with people who want to put an end to Christian presence in the Middle East in general, in Iraq in particular, and most particularly in Mosul.
First, they cut off people's food rations. They began to mark homes when the people were still inside. They marked 'C' for Christians on some homes, and 'R' for Rafidites on the homes of the Shiites. They wrote that all those properties belong to the Islamic State of Iraq. As you are sitting in your home, your property is taken away from you in broad daylight, for all people to see, and there is nothing you can say. Is this not murder? Then they deported the Christians. First they declared from the minarets of the mosques...I pity any sheikh who climbed a minaret and declared: 'The Christians must convert to Islam, pay the jizya poll tax, or be killed.' It goes without saying that we cannot renounce our faith. We take pride in our Christianity and believe it to be a divine religion - unlike all other religions. So we were swiftly driven from our homes. People fled with very little, with their money and gold. People who owned cars took them as well. But then they were stopped at a roadblock. People were taken from their cars and robbed of all their property: their money, their gold, their clothes, and even baby diapers. They stooped so low as to take a gold earring from a six-month-old girl's ear. There is no more than half a gram of gold in that earring. It's worthless, but they took it anyway. They beat up many of them, and took their ID cards and passports. They took their cars and made them walk on foot. They said to them: 'Don't return to this country. This country is ours. If you ever come back, we will kill you by the sword.'
They removed the crosses from the churches. The first cross to be removed was taken down from my cathedral. The Mar Afram Cathedral is famous in Mosul and in all of Iraq. The cross was removed from my cathedral, which is the largest in Mosul. Everything inside the cathedral was torched. Today, I was informed that they had placed speakers there, in order to use the cathedral as a mosque and pray in it. Don't you have enough mosques in Mosul?! Every two steps you take, you see a mosque. But they had to take even the churches and turn them into mosques.