More than 30 teachers working in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh have been arrested for refusing to follow the jihadist education syllabus imposed by Islamic State.
Canon Andrew White, Vicar of Baghdad who is now working in Jordan with Iraqi Christians who have fled from Mosul and other cities, told Christian Today that the syllabus the teachers are refusing to follow is one that teaches "death" to all those who do not follow Mohammed in line with the jihadist doctrines of Islamic State.
Philosophy, chemistry, biology and mathematics lessons have been banned, replaced by courses on sharia and jihad, and any schools with Christian names have been rechristened. The teaching of anything to do with Syrian culture, one shaped over two millennia by the Syrian Orthodox Church, has also been abolished.
The teachers were stopped and arrested during the night. The news was reported by local Kurdish media that monitor northern Iraq, such as News Agency Ara, according to Fides.
The teachers will be tried in the Islamic court set up by IS, which in Iraq is based in Mosul.
The fact that the teachers rebelled at all is an indication of local hostility to the caliphate proclaimed by IS.
Muslims are at much at risk in Nineveh now as people any other religion, said Canon White, who is meeting MPs in Parliament next week to discuss some of the problems facing persecuted peoples in the Middle East, where entire Christian populations are being wiped out.
There are no Christians left in Nineveh, he said. Sunni Muslims who refuse to follow IS propaganda are those now being persecuted by the regime.
"I have Muslim contacts from Nineveh. I was with them just the other day. They tell me it is horrendous there. There are no rights for anyone from any other community now. All the churches have been destroyed. One Archbishop from Nineveh told me he does not have a single church left.
"Mainstream education in Nineveh is now in line with what is taught in the most extreme of extremist madrassas. Basically, what is being taught is death to anyone who is not a follower of Mohammed. Not just Christians, Yazidis and Mandeans as well.
"Those most at risk now are not Christians, they are Muslims who will not follow Islamic State."