The city of Mosul in Iraq has already been liberated from the clutches of the Islamic State, but a Christian charity has warned that this victory does not provide enough guarantees for the future of Iraqi Christians in their hometown.
(REUTERS / Stringer)Iraqi people celebrate the liberation of the embattled city of Mosul.
When ISIS overran Mosul in 2014, more than 100,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in internally displaced camps to escape forced conversion to Islam, the jizya tax, and death. Although Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had already declared victory over the militant group, there are fears that the effects of Mosul’s capture could be permanent, Premier reported.
Speaking to International Christian Concern, Rabea, a displaced Christian, said the government of Iraq ought to do something to help those affected by the ISIS invasion, such as paying for the rebuilding of the community.
Baghdad Catholic priest Father Albert expressed the same thoughts and suggested that the capture of Mosul broke Christians’ trust and would push them to seek immigration because they will not be able to reintegrate with their general community.
“ISIS was allowed to occupy Mosul and its surrounding towns, some of which were considered Christian safe havens,” said ICC regional manager William Stark. “During this occupation, ISIS not only destroyed much of what these Christians considered the symbols of their community, such as churches and schools, but also the homes these Christians were forced to leave in 2014.”
“If bold action is not taken, one of ISIS’s legacies in Iraq could still be driving Christianity out of one of its ancient homelands,” Stark added.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported about sporadic clashes in Mosul after the government’s declaration of victory over ISIS. On July 11, the Old City was hit with at least one airstrike.
In light of the situation, Amnesty International released a report saying the battle for Mosul has spawned a “civilian catastrophe.” The report highlighted the displacement of 900,000 residents, summary killings, and incidents of civilians being used as human shields by ISIS terrorists. The clashes have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and destruction of communities.