Fact Check

ISIS Marking Christian Homes

Are operatives of ISIS marking Christian homes in Australia for nefarious purposes?

Published Sep 28, 2014


Claim:   Operatives of ISIS are going door to door in Australia, speaking with residents and then marking the homes of Christians.


Example:   [Collected via email, September 2014]

Got sent this by a friend is it legit?


Someone just shared this with me.

Just fyi : Please pass this on to everyone you know - especially those in the Revesby Padstow area.

There are members if ISIS going door knocking on homes. They greet you with "Salam Alaykom", and then pretend they are trying to collect money for orphans. They come with a black folder and ask you if you want to donate. I have just had one approach me at home just 2 hours ago. Please do NOT Talk to them or open for them. Call Crime-stoppers or the crime hotline on 1800 333 000 immediately.

They are marking Christian houses. Please spread the word (not on Facebook) but via private texting or viber. They are going through the Liverpool area, and just now through the Revesby, Panania, Chipping Norton, Padstow area.

Pls spread the word
careful guys this happened to my friend
And they donated twice
And then their house got egged. So dont open door to any stranger!!


Origins:   In September 2014, versions of the above email began to circulate that urged Christians to be wary of unbidden visitors posing a danger. According to these viral missives, operatives of ISIS have been going door to door under false pretenses, engaging residents in conversation, and noting the homes of Christians via a distinctive code marking known to others involved with ISIS.

The warning about home visits from ISIS has particularly been active in Australia following two high-profile incidents of violence. On 24 September 2014, police officers in Melbourne shot Abdul Numan Haider dead. Haider, 18, was alleged to have stabbed two police officers and was described by police as a "known terror suspect."

Panic levels in Australia over the threat of ISIS at the time of Haider's death were already heightened due to what police said was a foiled plot to abduct and behead random Australian citizens. Fifteen people were detained on 18 September 2014 in connection with the beheading threat, and Attorney General George Brandis said:

If the ... police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened.


In the subsequent heightened fear over violent ISIS attacks, rumors of ISIS marking Christian homes not only circulated, they stuck. Police in New South Wales took to Twitter to calm residents who were concerned about terrorists knocking on their doors:

There has been mention in the news media of ISIS marking the homes of Christians in Iraq, but those reports indicate markings are being placed after the Christian occupants of those dwellings have fled elsewhere, not as a means of identifying current residents who are being targeted for violence:

For the Christians displaced from Mosul, sudden departure has meant a series of treks — first to nearby Christian villages like Bartella and Hamdaniya, already badly overcrowded, then to Kurdistan, a semiautonomous region of Iraq where there is more tolerance for Christians.

As the Christians leave Mosul, ISIS has painted the Arabic letter that means "Nasrani," from Nazrene, a word often used to refer to Christians, on their homes. Next to the letter, in black, are the words: "Property of the Islamic State of Iraq."

The militants have also told Muslims who rent property from Christians that they no longer need to pay rent, said a businessman who rents from a Christian.


Although the threat of ISIS' marking Christian homes in Australia has been deemed not credible by law enforcement agents, Australia's terrorism alert level has been elevated to "high" for the first time in over a decade.

Last updated:   28 September 2014