ICC Note: Mosul, Iraq is now facing the complete absence of its Christian population for the first time in nearly over 1,500 years. A once flourishing Christian community, Mosul is now tattered with Islamic militant banners, ransacked churches, and empty houses as Christians flee to safer neighboring villages. Last Friday, reports indicate that the Islamic militants announced any Christian remaining after the weekend would be killed. Many families were not allowed to leave with anything more than the clothes on their backs.
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
07/22/14 Iraq (Al-Monitor) – Mosul has never been as empty of the country’s original Christian inhabitants as it is today. Everything related to Christianity is at risk of being ruined and looted by the members of the Islamic caliphate who have used the second-largest Iraqi city as their headquarters. This city is considered one of the oldest residences of Iraqi Christians.
Thousands of Christians fled the city in the past few days, in the wake of the Islamic State (IS) warning. According to witnesses, messages were communicated to Christians through loudspeakers in mosques last Friday [July 18], demanding that they leave the city by Saturday noon and reminding them of the IS statement confirming that whoever does not leave will be killed. The Christian families left Mosul before the end of the time limit, leaving behind their properties and houses. They headed to safer Christian villages in Ninevah under the control of the peshmerga, and to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
According to photos published by activists from Mosul, no trace of Christians was left there. Crosses were replaced with IS banners, and all churches were either closed or burned down.
Mosul Archbishop Botros Moushi, who is in Qaraqosh close to Kurdistan, said that Mosul’s city center is almost completely empty. He told As-Safir that IS militants sent for them to discuss the matter before their departure, “but we did not go because we lost faith in everyone. They fooled us and told us at first that they don’t have a problem with us, then they accused us of apostasy.”
Leaving Mosul was not easy for Christians. Many of them were robbed, or their properties were confiscated by IS members. Abu Rayan, a Christian who had left the city, said that “the militants stole money and jewelry from some families at IS checkpoints while they were leaving Mosul.”
Another Christian person noted that “IS arrested his relatives at a checkpoint while they were fleeing. When they discovered that they were Christians, they stole everything they had, including their mobile phones. The IS members left them with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.”