An Iraqi Christian holds a cross during a mass at the St. Joseph church in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Hundreds of Christian families fled their homes in Mosul on July 20 as a jihadist ultimatum threatening their community’s centuries-old presence in the northern Iraqi city expired. / SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images
While the world has been overwhelmed by the events in the Malaysian plane tragedy and the Israeli-Gaza conflict, one event went unnoticed: a complete ethnic and religious cleansing of Christians in the province of Mosul, Iraq. These Christians were there at the dawn of civilization and were converted to Christianity by St. Thomas the Apostle. The cleansing took place after they refused to convert, pay the penalty, or be executed by the Islamic State militants (ISIS). Their houses were marked with the letter “N,” the first letter of the Arabic word for Christian — Nasrani or Nazarene — and confiscated. Their churches were demolished. Their businesses were looted. Those who fled were completely stripped of even their basic wealth, similar to the events that the Jews faced by the Nazis.
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako and Pope Francis have appealed to world leaders to stop this persecution and ethnic cleansing, but their words have fallen on deaf ears.
America and Western world governments — who are signatories to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and profess to be the guardians of humanity, liberty and human rights — have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the plight of the Iraqi Christians and those facing similar persecution elsewhere. This dilemma has not stopped, but continues toward the rest of Iraq, where in less than 10 years, a Christian population of more than 1.5 million will only be a few hundred thousand and maybe completely exterminated. Those who believe in human rights, freedom of religion and anti-ethnic cleansing must act now.
Otherwise, history will have repeated itself.
Ramsay F. Dass
President, American Middle East Christians Congress
Nic6351851.jpg Iraqi Christians leave Saint-Joseph church after a mass on July 20, 2014 in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Hundreds of Christian families fled their homes in Mosul on July 20, 2014 as a jihadist ultimatum threatening their community’s centuries-old presence in the northern Iraqi city expired. / SAFIN HAMED/AFP