Sister Diana Testifies About Suffering of Christians and Other Religious Minorities in Iraq

ICC Note: In a powerful testimony before Congress, Sister Diana a Dominican nun from Mosul, Iraq shared the realities facing her and other Christians in Iraq. They are struggling against both the jihadist terrorists from ISIS and the humanitarian disaster now living almost as refugees in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. We’ve lost everything, Sister Diana told the hearing.

05/13/2015 Iraq (CNW) Sister Diana Momeka, OP Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Mosul, Iraq appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee today to testify about ancient communities under attack: ISIS’s war on religious minorities. Her visit to the United States was sponsored by two Washington-area organizations, the Institute for Global Engagement and 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative.

Following her testimony, which appears below, Sister Diana noted that “The situation for my people and my country is grave, but not without hope. I believe that the international community, and especially the good people of the United States, want to see my government fulfill its responsibility to protect defend, and promote the welfare of all of its citizens. I call on all Americans to raise your voices on our behalf so that diplomacy and not genocide, social well-being and not weapons, and the desire for justice, not selfish interests determine the future for Iraq and all of her children.”

Thank you Chairman Royce and distinguished Members of the Committee, for inviting me today to share my views on Ancient Communities Under Attack: ISIS’s War on Religious Minorities. I am Sister Diana Momeka of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Mosul, Iraq. I’d like to request that my complete testimony be entered in to the Record.

In November 2009, a bomb was detonated at our convent in Mosul. Five sisters were in the building at the time and they were lucky to have escaped unharmed. Our Prioress, Sister Maria Hanna, asked for protection from local civilian authorities but the pleas went unanswered. As such, she had no choice but to move us to Qaraqosh.

Then on June 10, 2014, the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS, invaded the Nineveh Plain, which is where Qaraqosh is located. Starting with the city of Mosul, ISIS overran one city and town after another, giving the Christians of the region three choices: 1.) convert to Islam, 2.) pay a tribute (Al-Jizya) to ISIS or 3.) leave their cities (like Mosul) with nothing more than the clothes on their back.

As this horror spread throughout the Nineveh Plain, by August 6, 2014, Nineveh was emptied of Christians, and sadly, for the first time since the seventh century AD, no church bells rang for Mass in the Plain of Nineveh.

From June 2014 forward, more than a hundred and twenty thousand (120,000+) people found themselves displaced and homeless in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, leaving behind their heritage and all they had worked for over the centuries. This uprooting, this theft of everything that the Christians owned, displaced them body and soul, stripping away their humanity and dignity.…

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