A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Expulsion of Eastern Christians 

The expulsion of Christians from Iraq’s second largest city has been compared to 1930’s Nazi Germany by a former British ambassador to the Holy See.

Francis Campbell, who served in Rome from 2005 to 2011, said he was deeply disturbed by the West’s indifference to the events in Mosul.

The extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) gave Mosul Christians an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay an exorbitant tax or die, by noon, July 19.

“It’s reminiscent of what we saw in Europe in the build-up to the Second World War or the ethnic cleansing witnessed [in] the Balkans in the early 1990s, where there is an attempt to systematically wipe out an entire civilisation and culture,” Mr Campbell said.

ISIS members marked the homes of Christian families throughout Mosul with the Arabic letter “N”, standing for “Nazarene”.

The Sunni militants burned an 1800-year-old church to the ground and ordered church bells to be silent.

Last Sunday, Mass was not celebrated in the city for the first time in 1600 years, as an estimated 10,000 Christians left Mosul.

Mr Campbell noted that UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon had said the purge of Christians in Mosul was “likely a crime against humanity”.

The US State Department and the UN Security Council have also denounced the ISIS actions.

But days after the ultimatum deadline had passed, neither the British Prime Minister nor the European Union had spoken out, Mr Campbell said.

Pope Francis has expressed his deep concern over these events and has assured all Christians of the Middle East of his “constant prayers”.

Patriarch Louis Sako, the Chaldean Archbishop of Baghdad, said any dialogue with the extremists seemed impossible.

The militants are like “a wall” as they only repeat: “Between us there is nothing but a sword”, the patriarch said.

Patriarch Sako said that as late as the end of June, 35,000 Christians had lived in Mosul, and more than 60,000 lived there before the US-led invasion in 2003.

“Iraq is heading towards a humanitarian, cultural and historical disaster,” he said in an open letter to Iraqis and the world last week.

ISIS seeks to create an Islamic caliphate across parts of Iraq and Syria.

The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation has condemned their actions in Mosul.

Source: Cathnews www.cathnews.co.nz


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