Many people invoke the destruction of churches by the Islamic State as evidence that it is not Islamic, as the Qur’an appears to forbid such activity: “Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory. [They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right – only because they say, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.” (Qur’an 22:39-40)
This passage, however, doesn’t actually say that churches and synagogues shouldn’t be destroyed. It just says that Allah prevents some people from destroying churches in which is name is “much mentioned.” There is no prohibition on destroying a church that does not teach the true faith — and that is what the Islamic State considers itself to be doing here.
“ISIS Attacks Assyrian Villages in Syria, 4 Killed, Dozens Captured, Churches Burned,” AINA, February 23, 2015:
Hassaka, Syria (AINA) — Fighting broke out at 5 AM today between ISIS and Assyrian and Kurdish fighters in the Hasaka province in northeast Syria. ISIS attacked the Assyrian villages of Tel Goran, Tel Hurmiz, Tel Tamar, Tel Baloaa Tel Shamiran, Tel Riman, Tel Nasra, Tel Khareta, and Abu Tena. The ISIS fighters were met by members of Assyrian Guards (called Natorehs), an Assyrian Militia, and Kurdish fighters form YPG. 4 Assyrian fighters were killed as well tens of ISIS fighters. According to the latest reports, fighting is still ongoing in Tel Tamar.
ISIS has abducted dozens of Assyrian men, women and children, including 12 from Tel Hurmiz, 15 from Tel Goran. They have been brought to Jabal Abdul Aziz. The residents of the villages of Tel Shamiran (approximately 50) and Tel Jazira (about 40) are being held captive in their own villages by ISIS.
According to a report by Newsweek, ISIS will use the Assyrian hostages for a prisoner swap with Kurdish fighters.
A number of churches have been destroyed, including the church in Tel Hurmiz, one of the oldest churches in Syria, the Mar Bisho church in Tel Shamiran, the church in Qabr Shamiy and the church in Tel Baloua.
There are 35 contiguous Assyrian villages on both sides of the Khabur river, stretching 80 kilometers west from Hassaka to Ras al-Ain. The remaining inhabitants of these villages, some 3000, have now been evacuated, most to Hasaka and about 200 to Qamishli. Hundreds have taken refuge in St. Mary church in Hasaka and and St. Ephrem church in Qamishli.
In Hasaka the Assyrian Democratic Organization was aiding the Assyrian refugees with housing and food.
AINA spoke by telephone to Hani Zaya, whose parents, who live in Tel Goran, were abducted by ISIS. According to Mr. Zaya, local Arabs who are members of ISIS and who knew the Assyrian village residents reportedly brought them to “safe-houses” in nearby villages. None of the captives have answered or made telephone calls. Calls made by relatives of the captives have been answered by ISIS members, who have said there is nothing to be done for the hostages….