ICC Note: As Iraqi Christians are forcibly removed from their homes and their communities are destroyed by ISIS, they have called upon the U.N. for protection. Withstanding temperatures as high as 122 degrees, 500 Christians gathered in front of the U.N. building in Erbil to protest the West’s apathetic response to their persecution and their need for help just to meet the most basic needs of food and water. Many wore t-shirts bearing the same symbol used to mark their homes by ISIS as a testament to the faith they bear and the persecution they face because of it.
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
07/29/14 Iraq (the Catholic Transcript) – Iraqi Christian refugees braved temperatures as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit to demand that the United Nations intervene to protect them from persecution by Islamist militants.
Sahar Mansour, a Chaldean Catholic who fled Mosul, Iraq, in June, told Catholic News Service by email that she saw some of the demonstrators faint in the heat as they marched from their refugee camp in Ankawa to the U.N. base in Irbil.
“We were holding banners in Arabic, English, Chaldean, and French against the violence that happened in Mosul and (questioning) why the world was in silence against our problems,” she said.
“There were (a) few Muslim leaders with us sharing our concerns,” said Mansour, a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Mosul.
“The weather was so hot that some people were fainting, but we encouraged each other to convey one voice and pass the message to the U.N.”
Many wore T-shirts or held up banners emblazoned with the Arabic symbol for “N”, which was painted on the houses of Christians in Mosul to designate them as “Nasara” or Nazarenes, a derogatory Arabic term for Christians, before they were ordered to leave the city, convert to Islam, or face death.
About 500 people joined the July 24 protest. Most were refugees who had fled Mosul, the biblical city of Ninevah, 55 miles west of Irbil, before it fell to Islamic State fighters who invaded in June and July.
They were joined by other Christian refugees who had fled the militants from neighboring Syria, and by a small number of Muslims, including imams.
Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil and by Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Nicodemus Daoud Matti Sharaf of Mosul led the demonstration. At the U.N. base, they asked that the Iraqi federal government accept the lgal responsibility for the humanitarian relief and compensation for all innocent civilians harmed by the fall of Mosul.