No Mass in Mosul last Sunday… for the first time in 1600 years

by John Hayward
A sad postscript to yesterday’s post about the anti-Christian pogroms carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and ISIS in Iraq, from Christian Today:

The Chaldean Catholic Church’s Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, in Kurdish-governed northern Iraq, is reported as saying that for the first time in 1,600 years there was no Mass said in Mosul on Sunday June 15. This is the city taken over days before by ISIS forces.

Reports say the estimated 3,000 or so Christians still there – from about 35,000 in 2003 – all fled ahead of the militias’ takeover of control, although some families were reported to have returned. They cited lack of job prospects and shelter once they’d become internally displaced, or refugees in Kurdish Iraq.

That’s a dash of cold water for those who think the Kurdish Autonomous Region – soon to become the Kurdish REALLY Autonomous Region – is the answer to Iraq’s woes. With all due respect to the Kurds, who unquestionably have their act together better than anyone else in the region, they’re just not in a position to absorb a massive flood of refugees from the depredations of Sunni ISIS, or a Shiite rump Iraq under the thumb of Iran.

Believe me, we do not want to get pushed into a corner where we’ve got to abandon the rest of the country and put all our chips on the Kurds – again, all props to them, we just can’t afford to write off the rest of Iraq. But if that’s where things are headed, we should not only reinforce them militarily, but ensure they’re willing and able to handle an exodus, which is probably going to include most of the Christians remaining in Iraq.

The former Christian town of Qaraqosh, 32 miles from Mosul, is now described as “completely abandoned,” and another Christian town called Karamales ended up decamping for the safe havens of Kurdistan as well. Two Christian families in Qaraqosh are said to have been killed by mortar fire.

Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Saad Sirop wants to resolve the crisis with “reconciliation” between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, which is a tall order even if he doesn’t include the actual ISIS head-choppers in his reconciliation plans. If the Sunni population can be persuaded to turn against ISIS, it would make for an unlikely tactical success, but it’s not very likely that people who have developed an enthusiasm for crucifixions can be persuaded to leave Iraq’s Christians alone.