Local Chaldean says loved ones could face death

SAN DIEGO - A deadline issued by the Islamic group ISIS for Iraqi Christians to convert to Islam or face execution has passed. 

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church said Friday for the first time in history, Mosul, Iraq is void of Christians.

San Diego is home to the second largest population of Chaldeans in the country. Many of them attend St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in Rancho San Diego like Ray Dawood, whose aunt, uncle and three cousins are still in Iraq at this hour, trapped because their passports are expired.

Dawood fears for his family in Iraq.

"All you need is someone knocking on your door saying either convert to Muslim or we're going to kill you," he said.

His relatives have had to flee the home they recently built. Now, they could be killed if they do not renounce their Christian faith.

"I know my aunt, she said, 'I would rather die and not convert, this is my religion. We can't just change because someone told us to,'" said Dawood.

Militant ISIS jihadists have given Christians in Mosul, Iraq a 24-hour deadline to accept Islam and pay taxes to Islamic Sharia Courts or face "death by the sword."

"Children are being raped and hung, wives are being slaughtered and beheaded and the last person they kill is the father," said local Chaldean leader, Mark Arabo.

Arabo is working tirelessly along with local Rep. Juan Vargas to get leaders in Washington D.C. to push Iraqi leaders to stomp out ISIS before it is too late. The two recently drafted a resolution that already has the support of House Speaker John Boehner.

"We can't turn a blind eye to the potential demise of Christianity," said Arabo.

He says what is happening in the Middle East is of biblical proportions. It is a humanitarian crisis that he says that will no doubt have worldwide impact if world leaders fail to act.

Isis has given all Iraqi Christians a deadline of noon Saturday – 2 a.m. Pacific time – to be out of Mosul, warning that if they fail to do so, they must convert to Islam or die.

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