Before Islamic State (ISIS) unleashed its reign of terror in Iraq, there were 15,000 Christians in Mosul, the Muslim-majority nation’s third-largest city.
By July of 2019, only about 40 Christians have returned to Mosul according to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
Two years ago, ISIS was defeated in Mosul. The terror group, however, “had succeeded in ‘cleansing’ the Christians” from a city they had called home for more than 1,700 years, journalist and author Giulio Meotti noted in an Aug. 18 analysis for Gatestone Institute.
“Convert, pay or die. Five years ago, that was the ‘choice’ ISIS gave to Christians in Mosul,” Meotti wrote. “either embrace Islam, submit to a religious tax or face the sword. ISIS then marked Christian houses with the Arabic letter ن (N), the first letter of the Arabic word ‘Nasrani’ (‘Nazarene,’ or ‘Christian’). Christians could often take no more than the clothes on their back and flee.”
As ISIS pressed for its “caliphate,” it destroyed 45 churches in Mosul. Currently, there is only one church open in the city.
“ISIS apparently also wanted to destroy Christian history there,” Meotti wrote. “They targeted the monastery of Saints Behnam and Sarah, founded in the fourth century. The monastery had survived the seventh century Islamic conquest and subsequent invasions, but in 2017, crosses were destroyed, cells were looted, and statues of the Virgin Mary were beheaded. The Iraqi priest, Najeeb Michaeel, who saved 850 manuscripts from the Islamic State, was ordained last January as the new Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul.”
The fate Christians is similar elsewhere in Iraq.
“The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has several categories to define the danger of extinction that various species face today”, writes Benedict Kiely, the founder of Nasarean.org, which helps the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.
“Using a percentage of population decline, the categories range from ‘vulnerable species’ (a 30-50 percent decline), to ‘critically endangered’ (80-90 percent) and finally to extinction. The Christian population of Iraq has shrunk by 83 percent, putting it in the category of ‘critically endangered,’ ” Kiely wrote.
Many in the West were more worried about not appearing “Islamaphobic” than defending Iraqi Christians, Meotti noted.
In the United States, “it’s become this, a headline from The Tennessee Star: ‘Miss Iraq Says Ilhan Omar Exporting ‘Muslim Brotherhood Agenda’ to America,’ ” Washington Times columnist Cheryl K. Chumley wrote on Aug. 27.
Former Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said during an interview on “The Sara Carter Show”: “Ilhan Omar does not represent me as a Muslim, does not represent millions of Muslims in the Middle East. You know, like in Arab countries, we call her the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Chumley noted: “But be careful how you speak about Rep. Omar. As Jeanine Pirro learned, after her employer Fox News chastised her questioning of Omar’s ability to simultaneously embrace both Islamic principles and the U.S. Constitution, too much talk can get you suspended.”
Chumley continued: “Not saying Omar is a persecutor of Christians — or in any way even anti-Christian. But the point is this: America, both overtly and subtly, has learned to tread carefully when it comes to discussing Islam-related matters. It’s very difficult to win the war without naming the enemy. It’s even more difficult to win the war when the enemy’s outright ignored.”
Juliana Taimoorazy, the president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and a senior fellow of the Philos Project, said during an interview in May on Fox News: “I believe the death of most people suffering today is truly because of political correctness, because the world turns a blind eye to this, and when we are politically correct, we are sympathizing with those terrorists that are destroying communities and erasing history.”
Chumley concluded: “Or, another way to put it: Mosul — from 15,000 Christians to 40. In just a few short years.”