Christians in Mosul have been offered three choices by ISIS:
1. Convert to Islam.
2. Pay the ‘jizya’ tax that renders them dhimmis – i.e., second-class citizens granted limited protection if they hand over half an ounce of pure gold.
3. Death by the sword.
They had until noon today to make up their minds.
Bit of a no-brainer, really. Mosul’s Christians – Catholics and Orthodox who until this month had celebrated Mass in the city every Sunday for 1,600 years – are fleeing for safety.
Perhaps, by the time you read this, Barack Obama – a weekly worshipper at a crazy rabble-rousing church while he was running for office in Chicago – will have said something about this tragedy. He certainly hadn’t said anything at the time of writing (18.30 BST).
In fact, if you do an internet search for ‘Obama, Middle East, Christians’, you’ll find very thin pickings indeed: mostly articles by his critics pointing out that he’s kept his mouth shut on this subject ever since his Arab Spring empowered the murderers of Christians across the region.
I’m not saying that Christian lives are worth more than Muslim ones. Nor can the (genuinely devout) George W Bush escape his responsibility for the slit throats of Christians some of whom still worship in a version of Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Ditto the ‘Catholic’ Tony Blair.
But the mass culling of Chaldean and Assyrian Christians brings out in Obama a streak of insouciance and laid-back cowardice that is very much his own.