ICC Note: Iraqi Christians this month have faced their worst nightmares in the form of being evicted from their homes by a radical Islamist group in Mosul, Iraq. Christian houses now stand, emptied and marked with the letter N for Nazarene. The Islamic State (IS or ISIS) has now claimed Christian properties such as homes and churches as their property, and evicting any Christian who does not convert, or pay tax for their religious identity. Christians, which used to number around 1.4 million in 2003, have been forced to leave their homes throughout several towns and cities to avoid these dangerous threats and rising persecution. As the world watches what amounts to nothing less than religious cleansing, the question becomes “what will we do?”
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
By: Nina Shea
07/30/14 Iraq (Fox News) – The Arabic “nun” symbol, or N, which stands for Nazarene and refers to Christians, ominously began appearing, stamped in red, on Christian homes in Mosul, Iraq, two weeks ago.
By mid-July, it was accompanied by another statement, painted in black, “Property of the Islamic State.” And with that, the Christians found their worst fears confirmed.
On July 19, ISIS, the Sunni Muslim insurgent group declaring itself the Islamic State, carried out unabated and unabashed religious cleansing against Christians and the non-Sunni Muslim communities. Today, in this place of Nineveh of the Bible, the ancient heart of Iraqi Christianity, there’s not a single Christian left. All have been stripped of their possessions and deported.
In recent years, Iraq’s Christians have experienced relentless persecution by various extremist groups, and, along with a civil conflict in which the Christians remain neutral, it has taken a hard toll on their numbers. In 2003, Iraq’s Christians, at 1.4 million, were among the region’s most robust Christian communities. Since then, more than a million of them have fled. Their banishment from Mosul is irreversible.
Whether these newly displaced people, among the last Christians to speak Aramaic, Jesus’ own language, will be able to remain in the region at all is likely to depend on America’s response.
Remarkably, after their mass deportation, the Iraqi government did nothing to help Mosul’s Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, even while the Iraqi Army failed to protect them, allowing ISIS to handily capture Iraq’s second largest city on June 10. Baghdad, however, did manage to send planes and bus convoys to evacuate the Shiites among the exiled minorities. Iraq’s government facilitated the resettlement of Mosul’s Turkmen and Shabak Shiite communities in Najaf and elsewhere in the south, reported Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana with the Christian Aid Program. (ISIS did not target Turkmen and Shabak Sunnis.)
Left to fend for themselves were the Christians and a few remaining Yezidis (a dozen Yezidis recently in their home province of Sinjar had their eyes gouged out and were then killed by ISIS for refusing to convert to Islam).