ICC Note: With the crisis in Iraq and Syria gradually drawing more attention from the media, people must be weary of becoming targets for propaganda. The situation, with political and social implications for the region, must be handled with minimal bias. The Islamic group, ISIS has begun to take control of towns all throughout Syria and Iraq. Christians, as well as other religious minorities, are quickly dispersing from the region. As the region becomes more hostile due to ISIS’ presence, it is becoming more of a reality that these Christian families may never return.
ICC has launched a campaign to provide aid to the Iraqi church to assist those in need who have fled from the attacks. Go here to find out more and donate: Iraqi Crisis Response
06/24/14 Iraq (AINA) – It is very difficult to not be a target of propaganda from the various players involved in the Iraq crisis. They all have their own agendas. So what is the truth? Are Christians being forced to convert to Islam in Mosul? We don’t know that for sure yet. What we do know is that ISIS has been persecuting Assyrians and other non-Sunnis in Syria for a year now. Kidnappings, robberies, rapes and beheadings are not unusual. We also know that they use to do the same thing in Iraq when they were a part of al-Qaeda.
In order to get an idea of the situation for Christians in Mosul I reached out to Pascale Warda, former Minister of Immigration and Refugees in Iraq. She is one of the best known activists and philanthropists in the Middle East. While Warda was Minister, she was invited to take part in a discussion on global women’s issues at the G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia, by the First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush.
Warda’s family comes from Dawaiya, a Christian village in Iraqi Kurdistan that was close to those gassed by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. During the long years of Saddam’s rule, Warda was exiled in France, where she helped settle Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers. She served as the representative of the Assyrian Democratic Movement Foundation, the primary Assyrian political party in Iraq.
Since her return to Iraq she has survived five assassination attempts. Four of her bodyguards have been killed.
The US Department of State gave the 2012 Human Rights Defenders Award to Warda’s foundation. They wrote that Hammurabi Human Rights Organization (HHRO) “has fearlessly advocated for human rights and was critical in concrete achievements in the protection of female detainees, as well as taking on critical work on curriculum reform to promote religious freedom.”
Warda is currently in US where she is raising awareness of the urgent need to provide housing for the Christians of Mosul in order to enable them to remain in the Christian villages of Nineveh and in Dohuk and Erbil in Kurdistan. After our telephone conversation I e-mailed her questions and she responede very informative.
“All the Christians, Assyrians and others, of Mosul fled in panic before and while ISIS entered their city to save themselves from these brutal people who practice killing using religious principles as well as forcing Christians to pay the ‘Jizya’ tax. According to our sources in the Nineveh Plains, no Assyrian families are left in Mosul?–?only a few individuals stayed in the city, perhaps to guard their homes.”