Christians in Mosul face death
For the first time in 1,600 years,the Christian Mass is not being celebrated in the ancient city of Mosul, Iraq.
According to a story in The Daily Beast, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized Iraq’s second largest city June 10, causing most Christians in the region to flee in terror. The remnant of Mosul’s ancient Christian community, long inhabitants of the place where many believe Jonah to be buried, now faces annihilation behind ISIS lines. Those who risk worship must do so in silence, praying under new Sharia regulations that have stilled every church bell in the city.
The media has largely ignored the horrifying stories that are emerging from Mosul.
The Assyrian International News Agency reported June 23 that ISIS terrorists entered the home of a Christian family in Mosul and demanded that they pay the jizya (a tax on non-Muslims). According to AINA, “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. The husband and father was so traumatized that he committed suicide.”
Christians have been confronted by armed ISIS agents and given four choices: (1)convert to Islam, (2) pay the jizya, (3) leave with only the clothes on their backs, or (4) die “by the sword.”
Yahoo! News reported on the plight of many Mosul Christians, “We have lived in this city and we have had a civilization for thousands of years - and suddenly some strangers came and expelled us from our homes,” said a woman in her 60s who fled on Friday for Hamdaniya, a mainly Christian town controlled by Kurdish security forces to the southeast of Mosul. Others were stopped by gunmen on the outskirts of the city and robbed of the goods they carried, suggesting the militants were implementing an order to Christians to leave behind all possessions.
“The Islamic State stopped my relatives at a checkpoint when they were fleeing and when they found out they were Christians, they took everything they were carrying, including their mobile phones,” said a Christian man, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”They left them only with the clothes they were wearing,” he said, speaking from Hamdaniya.
The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot, relayed its ultimatum from mosque loudspeakers and spray-painted Christian properties with the letter “N” for Nasrani, or Christian, residents said. Many see the clear parallel to the Nazis placing the Star of David on the homes of Jewish residents during the Holocaust. Religious leaders have expressed alarm at the order. “It is forbidden for Christians to be rejected, expelled or wiped out,” said Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako in a statement published on his official web site.
Where is the outcry, the outrage, the condemnation of the press and politicians? That’s a very good question. Where are the voices of concern and condemnation from Muslim leaders in the free world? The silence is deafening. As the horrors unfolded in Iraq, back in Washington, in the briefing room of a presidential hopeful, an Iraqi bishop made a desperate plea for help via phone: “We have no food, no petrol, no [means] to protect ourselves. Where are America’s values? Where is our dignity?”
For the first time in nearly two milleinia, Mosul is virtually devoid of Christians. Were it any other minority, the newscasts would be filled with outrage. Because those being persecuted are Christians,the only thing one hears is the sound of crickets chirping.
David Epps isthe pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Sharpsburg (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.