‘They are savages,’ say Christians forced to flee Mosul by Isis
[Guardian] Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee the northern city of Mosul under threat of forced conversion or execution by jihadists have spoken of their terror as churches were turned into mosques and their homes and property confiscated.
The expulsion of one of the world’s oldest Christian communities provoked condemnation and anguish from figures as diverse as the pope and Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who lambasted the Islamic State (Isis) for its “criminality and terrorism”.
Last weekend Isis gave the city’s Christians a stark choice: convert to Islam, pay a religious tax, or face death. “They said there is no place for Christians in the Islamic state,” one distraught refugee said from the safety of Bashiqa, 16 miles from Mosul. “Either you become Muslim or you leave.” Mosul’s last 1,500 Christian families were reportedly robbed at Isis checkpoints as they fled.
Hundreds have found shelter in areas between Mosul and Irbil – the capital of the Kurdistan regional government – that are controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, but they face an uncertain future.
The full article can be found here
News from Iraq – both Mosul and Baghdad – is not good. Christians are being actively persecuted by the ISIS insurgents. This article, published by the Anglican Communion News Service, show the distress being experienced by members of the ancient Chaldean Church – clear evidence of the despoliation that is currently going on in Iraq with the aim of destroying any evidence of Christianity from the cradle of its birth in the former Land of the Chaldeans.
I have included another news item which describes an interview with the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’, the Revd. Canon Andrew White, an intrepid supporter of the Anglican community in Iraq, whose wife and two sons are living in England while he has now returned to Baghdad, to continue his support for the remaining Christians in that city. His original congregation, which used to number in the thousands, has now been reduced to the remaining 500 in the local community. His parish caters for the needs, not only of Christians but also of the many Muslims who have found refuge in the Church from the savagery of the ISIS onslaught, which claims victims also in the Shia Muslim community that resists the fundamentalist tendencies of the marauding Sunni insurgents.
Having watched a video of another interview with Canon White, conducted by Canon J.John of the Coventry Cathedral Reconciliation Community, I am convinced that the trouble in Mosul, in Iraq generally and in Syria and other parts of the world where elements of Islam are fighting one another for supremacy in their religion; is caused by an acute outbreak of fundamentalist purist religion that, in any religious community, is a threat to the three monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and the majority-Muslim Faith. Where one sectarian group of religious enthusiasts in a particular religion decides that it has a monopoly on spiritual purity and ‘righteousness’; there is the seed of spiritual pride that was criticised by Jesus in the dogmatism of the Scribes and Pharisees. For Christians we need to remember that “The great Love of God was revealed in The Son”. Jesus’ treatment of other-faith adherents was always loving.
When Jesus was addressed as ‘Good Master’, even He, the Son of God, was prompted to say: “There is ONE Alone Who is Good.” This should alert all of us, Christians , Jews and Muslims alike to avoid occasions of militant activity against our sisters and brothers in faith; whose understanding of the Love of God for all people may be different from our own.
Father Ron Smith