Assyrian Christians in Sweden are on edge after receiving several threatening messages linked to the Islamic State recently.
Graffiti that read “the caliphate is here” and “convert or die” was painted on two stores owned by Assyrians earlier this week, as was the Arabic letter ‘N,’ short for Nazarene, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports.
Chairman of the Assyrian district in Gothenburg, Josef Garis, told DN that the police are investigating the case. "The persecution of the past feels near," he said.
Earlier this year, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported that at least 150 people had travelled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS from Gothenburg. Terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp has called the city "the Swedish Center for Jihadists", despite it having a relatively small population of 490,000.
Last week, ISIS released a video showing three Assyrian Christians being killed in Syria, and militants have threatened to kill 180 more if a ransom isn't paid.
"I felt a sudden chill down my spine. It's terribly painful, we feel threatened," one of the shop owners, Markus Samuelsson, told DN.
"Our family fled Turkey for Sweden in the 70s. What we're exposed to reminds us of the stories we were told as children. It's very real and threatening, and we're terrified."