Islamic State is openly recruiting jihadists to target Christians in the West. This news emerged this week after Belgian police arrested the teenage son of a radical imam in the city of Verviers. The teenager was arrested after a video emerged of him walking the city’s streets cursing Christians in Arabic and calling for the murder of Christians. He reportedly told investigators that Islamic State (IS) is currently recruiting jihadists a) to target Christians, b) to carry out massacres in two shopping centres with chainsaws (an execution method IS has recently used in Iraq) and c) to attack a Belgian imam who was deemed “not radical enough”.
The arrest follows specific calls in IS’s English language magazine Dabiq in August for attacks on Christians in the West. It provides further evidence that IS’s policy of targeting Christians in the parts of Iraq, Syria and Libya that it controls is now being extended to Europe.
The August edition of Dabiq contained a series of lengthy polemics against Christians, one called “Why we hate you” and another “Break the cross”. The latter ended by inviting (dawah) Christians to embrace Islam and warning them that if they did not that its fight against Christians will continue until they are defeated and either killed or accept jizyah.
IS has also just launched a new magazine Rumiyah (Arabic for Rome) published in English, French, German, Russian, Indonesian and Uyghur. Although some media reports have suggested that this is just an attempt by IS’s leadership to boost its flagging popularity, it is more likely that IS now sees the conquest of Christian civilisation as the next stage in its jihad. As we reported recently, IS has now named the Pope as its “enemy number one” and over the last two years has repeatedly portrayed itself as conquering the Vatican in Rome, which it sees as the capital of Christian western civilisation. IS believes that we are living in the last days and expects there to be an eschatological battle at Dabiq in Syria in which Islamic armies will conquer “Rome”, i.e. the “Christian” West. It believes this will usher in the end times when Jesus will return to earth as a Muslim, smash the symbol of the cross and abolish jizya – as all Christians will then have become Muslims.