Following the invasion of northern Iraq by the Islamic State, Assyrian Christians and other minorities have found themselves in grave peril. On June 10th, the Islamic State captured Mosul from the Iraqi state. Those Christians who returned after the dwindling of violence following that original onslaught – lacking the means to secure accomodation elsewhere – found their property tagged with an ‘N’ for ‘Nassarrah,’ the Quranic word for Christians.
Last saturday, the Islamists declared that Mosul’s Christians had three choices: to convert to Islam, pay a hefty jizya tax, face murder, or flee permanently. A mass exodus of Christians ensued.They were not permitted to keep any of their possessions.
Louis Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, has declared that no Christians remain in Mosul.As evinced by the seizure of the ancient monastery of Mar Behnam, the apparent destruction of the tomb of Jonah, and several other acts of vandalism and looting perpetrated on historic churches, Iraq’s architectural heritage is also threatened by the extremist group.