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ICC Note: The violent nature of the religious persecution in Iraq has caused the complete removal of Christians from Mosul, one of the largest Christian communities in Iraq, After IS issued a statement that all remaining Christians would face a tax, conversion, or death if they stayed, many fled to neighboring towns and cities for shelters. With this crisis finally getting widespread media attention, many are describing this situation as the beginning of a genocide. However, locals such as Romsin McQuade, a university student who is an Assyrian Christian, says that these communities have always been subject to terror. Speaking on the persecution that has existed in these communities for decades, locals are finally hoping their stories will be heard and responded to in the West.

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: Romsin McQuade

7/31/14 Iraq (AINA) – The religious persecution in Iraq has seen one of the most vibrant Middle East Christian communities almost wiped out — forced to covert, driven from their homes or murdered. Conditions deteriorated after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, improved a little with the US-led surge in 2007 and now, with the advance of Isis, has descended to what might be described as genocide.

However, Romsin McQuade, a university student in America and a descendent of Assyrian Christians, argues that his particular community has always been subject to terror. The Assyrian Church of the East gained official recognition in the 4th century AD. It faced repression under the Ottoman Turks and shuffled around the region as a diaspora for much of the 20th century: moving between Iran and Iraq, while a large contingent found refuge in America. In this article charting the historical challenges facing his people, McQuade offers a solution: the creation of an autonomous safe haven.

At the dawn of the first millennium, the scattered Assyrian people placed all of their faith in Christianity.

Years later, they were court physicians, merchants, and top advisors to various Islamic Abbasid caliphs, while simultaneously managing to become the scapegoat du jour of that very Caliphate. Their houses were marked with pictures of Satan, hundreds of thousands of them murdered, and accused of pledging loyalty to the Romans, their coreligionists, to bring down the Caliphate.

Determined to remain in their ancestral lands — Ashur, Mosul, Tikrit– they found themselves in an all-too-familiar predicament: fleeing — but this time, from the first butcher of Baghdad, Timur, the Mongol ruler bent on exterminating them for being Christian.

Reduced to no more than a mere hundred thousand, most fled their cities to the mountains of Kurdistan in the Ottoman and Persian Empires.

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