Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mosul: There are no Christians left

We have found out what has happened to the Christians in Mosul: there are no Christians left. And Western governments are doing little or nothing.

Virginian Congressman Frank Wolf told the US Congress: 
With the exception of Israel, the Bible contains more references to the cities, regions and nations of ancient Iraq than any other country. The patriarch Abraham came from a city in Iraq called Ur. Isaac's bride, Rebekah, came from north-west Iraq. Jacob spent 20 years in Iraq, and his sons - the 12 tribes of Israel - were born in north-west Iraq. The events of the book of Esther took place in Iraq, as did the account of Daniel in the lions' den. Many of Iraq's Christians still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Despite. . . Christian leaders speaking out about the systematic extermination of Christians in Iraq, the silence in this town is deafening. Does Washington even care?

In Britain, the Roman Catholic organisation Aid to the Church In Need reported on its website: 

Imagine having your house daubed with a cross or a big "C" for Christian, knowing that your house was about to be targeted and taken. This is what happened in Mosul - and the Arabic letter "N" equating to Nazarene was daubed on Christian properties by the jihadist ISIS forces. Now a city which had up to 60,000 Christians ten years ago has no Christians - they have had to flee after being told to convert or face the sword.

Just last Sunday another one thousand Christians fled from the Nineveh Plains to the Kurdish area. A city where the Liturgy was celebrated for 1,600 years had no Mass or any Christian service last Sunday. Churches have been detonated and set ablaze, converted to Mosques and all crosses taken down - with ancient tombs desecrated and destroyed.

What is our government doing about this and how are they responding? Whether we like to admit it or not - this country's government has over the years laid the foundations for such a situation to arise. Now the government seems incapable or unwilling to help Christians and others suffering and dying at the hands of ISIS.

The UK's balanced approach to the uprisings in the Middle East - supporting rebels as long as they are not too extreme - has blown up in our face. The UK and other Western governments speak about their concerns, but surely they can work to form an axis of moderation in the Middle East.

We are called to stand with our Christian brothers and sisters now - in prayer and solidarity - and to speak up for religious tolerance, religious freedom and respect for all. The echo around the Middle East of many Muslims as well as Christians was - thanks to the social media - to stand with the Arabic "N" and to say "I am Christian. I am Iraqi". . . 

If we do not stand up for Christians in a city where they have followed Christ for 1,600 years, how will anyone help us when the attacks on us become more physical? Addressing nearly one thousand Iraqis and ACN supporters opposite the Houses of Parliament on Saturday was a haunting experience - I had the feeling that what is happening in our biblical historical homeland could easily happen here before long.

Now is the time to stand up for our faith and the right to believe. 

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