Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – Iraqi Christians face mounting pressures amid the growing power of al-Qaeda splinter group of the Islamic State (previously known as ‘ISIL’) and its control over several Iraqi areas.
The city of Mosul in Nineveh province of northern Iraq saw mass displacement among the residents after the control of the Islamic State in last June, especially among the Christian community of the city. Those who insisted to remain are reportedly under great pressure.
After announcing their Caliphate in areas in Syria and Iraq, militants of the Islamic State called on the Christian community in Mosul to either submit to the ISIL-issued Islamic rules of non-Muslim subjects and accept guardianship of the group by paying tolls, or leave the city; “otherwise sword will be between Muslims and Christians”, according to ISIL.
Thousands of Christians displaced following the Islamic State control on Mosul on 10 June. However, the recent statement pushed the rest to flee and seek refuge outside the ISIL-held territories.
Archbishop Peter Moshi, head of bishops in Mosul and its environs, stated to local media on Sunday that all Christians left Mosul city centre.”
“I refuse to meet ISIL’s leaders in Nineveh province to deliberate Christians’ situations with them,” he said.
Archbishop Moshi pointed out that 200 Christian families arrived in al-Hamadaniya town on Friday, while other families headed to the cities of Duhok and Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
According to Moshi, more than 500 Christian families were still in Mosul before last week’s statement by the Islamic State. They evacuated the city to avoid persecution by ISIL.
Speaking to ARA News in Erbil, the Kurdish researcher Goran Sadoun said: “ISIL militants were expected to suppress the Christian community of Mosul and other Iraqi cities. We completely condemn such practices.”
Sadoun called all international organizations to “interfere in protecting minorities of Mosul and other Iraqi cities”.
“Iraqi Kurdistan has hosted thousands of displaced people from Mosul including Christians. It established camps in Duhok and Erbil,” he said.
Noteworthy, militants of the Islamic State burnt the Syriac Church in Mosul which dates back to 1836, following the end of the term given to Mosul Christians to choose their destiny on Saturday.
Reporting by: Azad Jamkari
Source: ARA News
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