Sunday 28 May 2017

Killing Christians is one of Isil's warped priorities

A policeman cordons off the body of one of the two men who were shot dead after they stormed the French church. Photo: AFP/Getty
A policeman cordons off the body of one of the two men who were shot dead after they stormed the French church. Photo: AFP/Getty

Shashank Joshi

For more than two years, Isil has waged war on the religious mosaic of the Middle East. It has slaughtered all those they consider apostates in increasingly lurid fashion, targeting Christians, Yazidis, Shia Muslims, and countless Sunnis, too.

As the jihadists' war extended into Europe, they chose methods - such as the butchery of Nice - that even Osama bin Laden had rejected as indiscriminate.

But if Isil's target list is broad, it is not without priorities. In his speeches, Isil's so-called caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has repeatedly picked out Christians and Jews as enemies of particular note. Isil adherents have already deliberately killed Jews on European soil, beginning with the attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium in May 2014. The only surprise is that churches have escaped violence for so long.

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