Isis to convert Mosul Orthodox church into radical mosque for fighters

ICC Note: A year after having taken over the city of Mosul, Isis leaders have declared their plan to convert the Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Ephraim into a radical mosque for fighters. The group distributed notices around the city and draped their infamous black banners around the outsides of the once church. A city that was once full of Iraq’s Christian demographic is now believed to have none remaining in the area.

06/09/2015 Iraq (Newsweek): Isis has announced that it is to convert one of Mosul’s largest churches into a mosque for the group’s “mujahideen” in notices posted in the streets exactly a year after the group launched a successful offensive on Iraq’s second city.

The radical Islamists distributed the notices around the city, which has been under the group’s control for a year to the day, announcing the conversion of the Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Ephraim, according to Fides, the Vatican’s news agency.

In the weeks before Isis advanced in June last year, the number of Christians in Mosul reportedly dwindled to 3,000 and following the offensive, residents reported churches and Christian shops being attacked. Consequently, it is believed that no Christians remain in the city.

The church is to be reopened by the group as a “mosque of the mujahideen”, a place where Isis fighters and supporters who believe in an ultra-conservative version of Islam, can pray and practice their faith. Local Iraqi media reports indicate that the group have also draped the church in their notorious black and white logo, with “There is no God but Allah” and “Prophet Mohammed” written on it.

As a sign of their intention to convert the religious building, the militants have removed the cross from the church’s dome, emptied the church of all of its furniture to sell on and used buildings within the premises to base their “state council” last year, the news agency reported.

Nuri Kino, founder and president of A Demand For Action, a group advocating the protection of ethnoreligious minorities such as Assyrians and Yazidis in the Middle East, says that the continuous attacks on Christian symbols by Isis shows that the group are continuing in their attempt to “cleanse” their caliphate.

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