ICC Note: Christians in Syria and Iraq are facing escalated attacks from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. A new report stated that as many as 30,000 people have been forced by ISIS to leave their homes. Christians in Iraq are facing a tax for their faith, while Christians in Syria are facing more aggressive forms of violence. Last week, ISIS declared territories in Syria and Iraq a caliphate state and crucified 9 rebels in the process. Many fear that the extremist violence in Iraq will bring the Christian population down to 50,000 in 10 years.
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
07/08/14 Iraq (Bos News Life) – Minority Christians in Syria and neighboring Iraq faced more upheaval Monday, July 7, after an Islamic group expelled tens of thousands of residents from their homes and crucified at least nine people.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) reportedly forced some 30,000 people to leave their houses in the eastern Syrian town of Shuheil. Many fear their homes will be looted, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a respected monitoring group.
The ISIL, which declared the territory in Syria and Iraq a “caliphate,” or Islamic state, also nailed nine men to a cross in Syria’s Aleppo province last week as punishment for rebellion, several sources said.
Usually the men ISIL crucifies are shot in the head first, then hung for public viewing with their arms tied to a horizontal beam, according to observers familiar with the situation.
However one of the nine men was “crucified alive for eight hours” in the town of al-Bab, said the Syrian Observatory. The report didn’t specify if the man was killed.
It was unclear whether Syrian troops, who apparently advanced in and around the northern city of Aleppo on Monday, July 7, would be able to halt the ISIL fighters. Yet, most Christians have already been forced to flee Syria and Iraq, where the head of the Chaldean-Catholic Church, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, fears Christian life will eventually come to an end in the region.
“In ten years there will perhaps be 50,000 Christians left” in Iraq, he said in a statement released by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need and obtained by BosNewsLife. “Prior to 2003, this figure was about 1.2 million. Within ten years we have shrunk to a community of perhaps four to five hundred thousand faithful,” he added.
“When I was in Turkey recently ten Christian families from Mosul arrived. And in the space of only one week twenty families left Alqosh, a completely Christian town not far from Mosul. This is very serious, we are losing our community.”