Yesterday, the al-Qaeda linked “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) broke the crosses off the two Christian churches in Raqqah, a city in northern Syria. They also set the contents of the churches — the Church of the Annunciation and the Church of Martyrs — aflame, and lifted the Islamic flag above them.
Members of the Islamic organization first broke the large cross from off the Church of the Annunciation. This prompted the residents of Raqqah to march and protest, calling for the expulsion of the Islamic terrorists, while carrying the large, broken cross (see video here, around :38 second mark).
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant responded by attacking the Church of the Annunciation once again, gathering all its crosses and icons from inside, and setting them on fire. They capped off their “victory” by raising the ISIL flag—which is identical to al-Qaeda’s black flag with the words, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger” (the Islamic shehada, or profession of faith).
The same flags were raised on some of the 80 Christian churches destroyed in Egypt weeks earlier at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters.
After the desecration of the Church of the Annunciation came the Church of the Martyr’s turn. It was treated in the same manner, also with Islam’s black flag raised atop its dome in place of the broken cross.
[Note: For more on Islam's age-old hostility for the Christian cross, see pgs. 84-94 of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians]
RAYMOND IBRAHIM, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, best known for The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), he guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, CBN, and NPR.