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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Christian persecution in the Middle East ~ Mosul

This chillingly accurate political cartoon graphic provides more information about Christian persecutions conducted by terrorist groups in the Middle East than any news reports could accurately describe.  Created by the Indianapolis Star (IndyStar) political commentator and cartoonist Gary Varvel.

Varvel looks at Christian persecution published in the IndyStar

Christians are under attack in Arab nations.  Recently, the terrorist group ISIS (the Caliphate) drove Christians from their homes in Mosul, Iraq, where they have ancestors who have inhabited the region for two millenia. "That sound of crickets chirping is the  world response," is Varvel's commentary. 

Here's how the journalist George J. Marlin described the dire situation in an article published in the National Review

Iraqi Christians Look to Reclaim Their Ancient Homes 
Baghdad’s expulsion of ISIS from the Nineveh Plains gives them hope, but they must act fast to return and regain possession.
It was the night of August 6, 2014. Fresh from their capture of Mosul, the terrorist ISIS fighters swept through the Nineveh Plains and overnight drove more than 12,000 Christian families from their homes and ancestral lands. The families fled, quite literally, with only the clothes on their backs.

In Kurdistan, they joined the approximately 15,000 Christians who had fled Mosul just weeks earlier. For the next three years, some 120,000 internally displaced persons, or IDPs, were housed, fed, and clothed by the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil. Led by Archbishop Bashar Warda, whose herculean efforts were made possible by the steadfast support of an array of faith-based agencies, the local Church was even able to open six new schools so the children would not be deprived of their education.
Now, three years later, there is a glimmer of hope. 
The Iraqi government recaptured Mosul and ISIS was expelled from the Nineveh Plains. Iraq’s long-suffering Christians, worn out by many months of living in make-shift conditions, now want to go home.
Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church has urged the Christian IDPs to “return quickly to reclaim their lands before others seize them” and to avoid internal disputes. “We are the indigenous people of this country and its ancient civilizations, he added. “Our history is traced back to the oldest Christian Church in the world.”

Over a thousand families initially returned to their newly repaired homes on the Nineveh Plains. However, 13,000 Christian-owned homes await repair or rebuilding. And the revamping of the basic infrastructure of the nine Christian towns and villages on the Plains requires major funding — well beyond the ability of faith-based groups to deliver. Meanwhile, the overall situation is far from stable and secure. The threat of renewed violence hangs over the land.

Baghdad may tout its defeat of ISIS, but the group’s Sunni co-religionists still feel like second-class citizens in Iraq, as their devastated cities get scant help from the government. That situation is made worse by the growing influence of Shiite Iran, thousands of whose fighters have joined Iraq’s security forces. There are also reports that ISIS militants are going underground, preparing for guerrilla warfare, suicide attacks, and car bombs.
Christians and other religious minorities count on Western governments not only to help fund the reconstruction but also to insist that both Baghdad and Kurdistan guarantee security.
Christians are at risk — yet again — of becoming collateral damage of the Sunni–Shiite battle for control of Iraq and the larger region.
The issues affecting the region are complex and constantly evolving. 
Christians and other religious minorities count on the Western governments — and the U.S. in particular —not only to help fund the reconstruction of the Nineveh Plains but also to use their power and influence to get both Baghdad and Kurdistan to guarantee the security of all minorities and to ensure their equality of citizenship, including their property rights and freedom of worship.

The West must help because, if a significant number of Christians do not return to the Nineveh Plains very soon, and the power vacuum persists into 2018, the hopes for an enduring renaissance of Christianity in Iraq may be dashed forever.

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