Media Silence: Christians Persecuted in Iraq – Not That You’d Ever Guess…

Christians-Flee-Islamic-Threats-316x237The plight of Christians and other minority groups in northern Iraq has taken a turn for the worse, according to reports, as thousands fleeing regions controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have been robbed of their possessions at ISIS checkpoints.

ISIS, a Sunni extremist group that advocates Islamic Shariah law, is reportedly persecuting Christians in Iraq, forcing them to flee their homes in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, even as Muslims in Baghdad showed solidarity with persecuted Christians by joining them in symbolic protests across the city. Mosul is one of the holiest cities of Christianity in the Middle East and the ancient churches of Mosul are some of Christianity’s oldest.

At a rally in Baghdad, many Christians who arrived in the city after fleeing the violence of ISIS in the north held up signs that read, “I am Iraqi, I am Christian.” They were joined by Muslims expressing solidarity with the Christian community, also holding up the same signs, a report said.

ISIS reportedly issued an ultimatum to Mosul’s Christians ending Friday, to either convert to Islam, or pay the Islamic tax for non-Muslims known as jizya, or leave Mosul. However, a day before the city’s minority communities fled, ISIS took away the option of paying the tax and staying back, reports said. 

“The world must act, speak out, consider human rights,” Bishop Shlemon Wardooni of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch and head of Iraq’s largest churchsaid on Sunday, adding that the Iraqi state was weak and divided and Muslim leaders had remained silent. “We haven’t heard from clerics from all sects or from the government,” he told Reuters.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, on Sunday, condemned the treatment of Mosul’s Christians, saying it showed “the extreme criminality and terrorist nature of ISIS” while U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said ISIS actions were akin to “a crime against humanity.”

Pope Francis, in his weekly public prayers on Sunday, said: “I learned with great concern the news that came from the Christian communities in Mosul. Today they are persecuted. Our brothers are persecuted. They’ve been driven away. They must leave their homes without being able to take anything with them.”

On Sunday, about 200 Muslims attended the rally in Baghdad, with some marking themselves with the Arabic letter “N” for “Nazarene,” or Christian.

Christian leaders thanked Muslim supporters for standing up for their right to live in Iraq. “What gives us hope is a group of citizens – I do not want to say Muslims but they were Muslims – from Baghdad carrying slogans saying ‘I am Iraqi, I am Christian,’” Maysar Bahnam, a priest at Mar Korkis Catholic Church in Baghdad, told Al Arabiya. “They prayed in solidarity with us, saying that we are people from this land.”

On Twitter, hashtags such as #WeAreN and #IamNasrani served to share news and pictures of the plight of Iraqi Christians, and for helping organize support demonstrations.

Families leaving from the checkpoints on the eastern side of the city were reportedly harassed and robbed of their possessions. People also reported that money, jewelry and documents were taken from them, while the Daily Beast reported that women had crucifixes torn from their necks. Christian families and church leadership were among the last of Mosul’s minority communities such as Shabak, Shia, Yezidi, Turkmen and Kurds to leave the city, according to reports.

Comment

It seems odd that this savage persecution of Christians is not all over the news here in the UK. Isn’t it?  

22 responses

  1. That is a very interesting editorial from The Tablet, openly criticising the silence from the UK over the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Iraq.

    However, I wonder about this extract towards the end:

    “For centuries Islam proved a tolerant majority religion and the Qur’an offered a framework for co-existence. But something fundamental has changed, and the West needs to change its policy accordingly.”

    I’d like to know in which centuries Islam was a “tolerant majority religion” … Must have been quite a while back since Christians have had problems just trying to gather to read from their bibles in recent centuries, or so the word is out there on the street …

  2. Imagine for a moment that Iraq had been a Christian country with a Muslim minority and that the Christians had suddenly started slaughtering the Muslims.

    The media would have been demanding immediate military intervention in headlines three inches high – and would very likely have got it!

    I suppose the poor Christians of Iraq and elsewhere will just have to wait until the oil supply is compromised – that’ll spur Obama, Cameron et al to ‘righteous’ indignation.

    • CD,

      Spot on. That is EXACTLY the situation. Silence from the media and politicians because it’s “only” Christians being persecuted. Disgraceful.

  3. Christianity is being destroyed by Islam in the Middle East and parts of Africa. Muslims after all have a duty to establish Islam.

    Now it is also true that Christians also have a duty to establish the One True church, the Catholic Church – but by love!

    Islam, a concocted heresy created by an unstable mind, is quite different.

    The Caliphate is to be established by all Muslims according to their abilities and inclinations. If they are ordinary mums then they might insist on Muslim schools teaching only the Muslim religion. If they are inclined to be more political than they might insist on the right to establish states within states under Sharia law, as in many places now in UK. The north Brussels “statelet” is an outstanding example of this.
    And behind all this there is now a world-wide planned and subsidised conspiracy to encourage Islamic immigration into the west with the objective of eventual “takeover”.

    And lastly of course, particularly if you are young, and male, and fancy six hundred virgins in the next world to play around with, you are fully authorised and encouraged to kill and maim, on whatever scale you can manage, anyone opposing the triumph of Islam, as in the Twin Towers, Madrid, the London bombings, the Glasgow airport bombings, the Exeter bombings and off course the many outrages in Africa.

    That is what we are up against, but of course this is not to be mentioned in polite political circles in the West!

    • Jacobi,

      It is actually very sad to witness young, well intentioned Muslim men, being misled into these extremist terrorist groups, in the name of religion. It is really sad. And sad that they can’t see that what they are doing to the Christians in Mosul cannot possibly please God.

      I kinda think you’ve exaggerated the number of young ladies awaiting the “martyrs”, however, but let that go. You’ve reminded me of a joke which is a little closer to the edge than we usually permit on this site but … just this once (no follow up stories, please, unless they are very innocent)…

      The story goes that when the bomber caught trying to blow up Glasgow Airport was recovering in hospital, one of the nurses asked him “why do you do that? Why do you bomb places, committing suicide in the process?” To which the young man explained that they believe they will be rewarded by being given 7 virgins in Paradise. The nurse replies: “well, yes, I know that but that’s what I mean… why Glasgow?”

      Say nothing!

      • That reminds me of the yarn about the theatre in Bradford that had to cancel its Jack and the Beanstalk Christmas panto – because they couldn’t smell the blood of an Englishman…..!

      • It is not a myth.

        Yes my figure of 600 (often quoted) is wrong . The actual figure given in surat 52 and in the hadis is between 50 and 70, and they all seem to turn back into virgins again. So work that on out! In any case there are plenty young Muslims who do believe the higher figure.

        These are (whatever the figure) awarded to all (male) Muslims who attain paradise, and suicide bombers have no doubt about that!

  4. The media in this country are too busy searching high and low for the latest incidents of child abuse among the Catholic clergy to be bothered about the persecution of Christians in other countries.

    • Frankier,

      A very good point. Any departure from any one of the 10 Commandments by anyone associated with Catholicism is headline news but not, as you say, the persecution of Christians in other lands.

  5. Editor

    ABIDING by the Ten Commandments, especially the one against same sex encounters,
    is negative headline news against Catholicism in this country.

    Even today`s bigoted Daily Wreckered is stirring the s(oup) again regarding Catholic education with a pathetic non-story.

  6. Margaret Mary

    That`s the one.

    I didn`t know it was yesterday`s news as I only saw it online this morning. I would never ever buy this rag.

    What`s next? Football teams sharing the same dressing room and listening to each other`s team talks? Or maybe rival companies who share the same office block sitting together in a common boardroom discussing ways to get the upper hand on each other?

    These holy-willie nobodys in the Scottish media who pretend to abhor sectarianism are the ones who love to keep it going.

  7. ISIS isn`t doing anything all that much different than the British themselves did during the Irish Famine.

    Maybe that`s another reason why the silence.

  8. I think the media can’t report the persecution if Christians in Mosul because that would blow their whole politically correct campaign out of the water. They’d have a hard time accusing people of Islamophobia again, if they reported the truth about the treatment of Christians in northern Iraq.

    • Chantey Daniels,

      We are all very sad at what is happening in northern Iraq. We should continue to pray for them and for the Pope to consecrate Russia as Our Lady requested. Then there will be no need for marches. Peace and good order will be restored in both the world and the Church.

      I’ve just been watching President Obama’s press conference and he listed the people targeted by ISIS, saying these were “mainly Muslims” but made no mention of the slaughter of Christians. Interesting. I’m even less of a fan of Obama than previously, something I’d have thought almost impossible!

      Thanks to those who contributed to this thread, which is now closed to comments.

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