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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/2/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Kurds may be last chance for Iraqi Christians survival

The Iraqi city of Mosul, once a major center of Christian life in Iraq, is now almost entirely empty of Christians, as thousands flee the radical Sunni Islamist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a group which announced the formation of a new Caliphate in late June.

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a group which announced the formation of a new Caliphate in late June.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/2/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: International, Middle East, Iraq


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "For the first time in 1,600 years there was no Mass in Mosul last Sunday," said Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda.

Pray for our Christian brothers who suffer underneath the boots of ISIS.

ISIS, which declared itself a Caliphate late in June, has been running over the beleaguered Iraqi army since March, taking much of western Iraq, including Fallujah and Mosul, and if the occupation of Mosul continues, at some point that last church will close, which will leave that city devoid of Christ.

In some ways this is reminiscent of Germany and eastern Europe under the reign of the Nazis, when there was no way or place for Jews to practice. In some ways this comparison is apt, the Islamic state has been persecuting Christians in every city and town it occupies, but many Christians are getting out while they can, often with no place to go.

Slowly, the truth of the horrifying events are leaking out. On June 23, ISIS militants stormed the home of a Christian family in Mosul and demanded that they pay the jizya, a tax on non-Muslims. "When the Assyrian family said they did not have the money, three ISIS members raped the mother and daughter in front of the husband and father. [He] was so traumatized that he committed suicide," said a report from the Assyrian International News Agency.

In Washington, an Iraqi bishop made a desperate plea for help via phone as a delegation of Iraqi Christians seek greater support from the Kurds. "We have no food, no petrol, no [means] to protect ourselves. Where are America's values? Where is our dignity."

Right now in Washington many seek a greater Kurdish autonomy, viewing them as the prudent third power in a Sunni and Shia sectarian war. Especially as the only group that represents a stable American ally and the best hope for surviving Christians.

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