ICC Note: This summer’s attack by ISIS militants on Christian communities across Iraq is not a new attack, but it is the continuation of a campaign that has been in high gear for the past decade. There is a massive need for the church to stand together with Christians in Iraq and across the Middle East.
12/17/2014 Iraq (Fox News) They went to church to hunt Christians, again.
The blood had splashed everywhere, even on the ceiling of the Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad. The terrorists had arrived dressed as security guards. Then they locked the doors and unloaded their weapons.
They were yelling “God is Great” as they slaughtered men, women and children. They killed 58 and injured 100 more that morning.
And who was responsible?
The “The Islamic State,” of course, and they did it under the orders of their newly appointed leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Yet this massacre didn’t occur in 2014 as ISIS marched from city to city, chopping off the heads of their opponents as they went. The Baghdad church massacre happened in 2010 — a full four years before ISIS had captured one contiguous piece of Iraqi and Syrian land the size of the United Kingdom.
Actually, by 2010, most Iraqi Christians had already been targeted. In fact, 40 of Baghdad’s 65 churches had been bombed, along with 60 more in Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. The conflict had allowed extremists to finally rid Iraq of its ancient Christian minority, and hardly anyone noticed their systematic efforts in the fog of war.
The Christians were not dying in crossfire; they were being picked off the way a sniper stalks his target.
By 2010, nearly every church in Iraq had been forced to build blast walls around its sanctuary to provide at least one extra layer of protection between its congregants and the inevitablecar bomb. The stories of kidnappings and murders of preachers and parishioners were numerous. All of this forced one million of Iraq’s surviving 1.5 million Christians to leave the country between 2003 and 2010.
Now ISIS is trying to finish the job, carefully targeting those portions of Iraq where Christians, and other religious minorities, have lived for centuries.
They aren’t starting a campaign to eliminate Christianity from Iraq; they are finishing it. And the tragedy is that the world is only now realizing what’s been going on for so long.