ICC Note: Iraqi Christians grow more afraid as ISIS’ extremist violence persists. Janda, an Assyrian Christian, opens up about her family being forced to flee from the violence in Mosul. Her family of 6 was one of the last to leave in her community. Her family is just one of nearly 10,000 Christians who have been forced to flee. Syrian Christians are expected to experience the same persecution.
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
07/10/14 Iraq (IRIN News) – “The sound of the shelling was terrifying. In my street no-one was left. We were the last family to leave,” explained Janda, an Assyrian Christian from Iraq.
Her family of six fled the town of Qaragosh (also known as Bakhida and Hamdaniya) 30km east of Mosul, in northern Iraq, leaving their home in the middle of the night.
Travelling by car, they crossed into the capital of semi-autonomous Kurdistan, where they sought shelter in a sports hall in the mostly-Christian district of Ainkawa, in the Kurdish capital Erbil.
Janda is one of an estimated 10,000 Christians who fled from the Nineveh Plain – the region to the north and east of Mosul – to Erbil in the space of days in late June to escape militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and their clashes with Kurdish armed forces (Peshmerga). The aerial bombing campaign of the Iraqi Security Forces against ISIS has added to the concern.
“We are scared because we have heard rumours that ISIS decapitates people,” said Ammar, another Christian, who also left Qaragosh with his wife Iman and their two children, and found refuge in a cramped hall. “What happened to Christians in Syria – we expect the same fate,” he added.
We are scared because we have heard rumours that ISIS decapitates people. What happened to Christians in Syria – we expect the same fate. In recent months reports have come out of Syria of churches being burned and Christian communities being attacked and forced to convert to Islam. While not all of them are true, they have stoked deep fear in the Iraqi Christian community.