http://www.catholic.org – 1/10/14
LOS ANGELES — The ancient region of Nineveh in Iraq, one of the world’s first Christian enclaves, has been emptied of its Christians. Islamic State terrorists have driven off or murdered the entire city’s population of Christians. Across Iraq other Christians have fled en masse. Canon Andrew White, the only Anglican Vicar in Iraq told the Telegraph “Last week there was no communion in Nineveh for the first time in 2,000 years. All are closed, all their people have run away.”
Despite the extreme dangers, Christians are permitted to live in the Islamic State, but only if they pay a punishing tax. All who could flee did so. Christians in other parts of Iraq have also fled, lacking confidence in that nation’s security forces. According to Canon White, only the poor remain, without the means to flee or pay any taxes. Should the Islamic State resume its advance, these people will simply have to choose between conversion and martyrdom.
Canon White expressed skepticism to The Telegraph that airstrikes would stop the Islamic State, and that he, along with many others, thought that troops would have to be on the ground to defeat the terrorists. He also acknowledged that nobody would want casualties, so he understands why no troops have been sent.
It isn’t just Canon White who is pessimistic about the future of Christianity in Iraq. A priest named “Father Nawar” was on record in the Christian Post as saying “Christianity is finished in Iraq.”
The priest told CP that Christians were dying for lack of food and resources, and that there were precious few resources to care for the estimated 200,000 Christians displaced by the Islamic State. A priest named “Father Nawar” was on record in the Christian Post as saying “Christianity is finished in Iraq.”
The priest told CP that Christians were dying for lack of food and resources, and that there were precious few resources to care for the estimated 200,000 Christians displaced by the Islamic State.
The displacement of Christians is exacerbated by refugees from other populations as well, all fleeing the Islamic State. Most have retreated into Kurdish territories, some have crossed borders. A few lucky individuals have made it to Europe or other parts of the world, but most people are simply destitute, living in cities such as Kirkuk.
Those still in Iraq and in the Kurdish regions are absolutely dependent on outside aid. These people were forced to flee, leaving everything behind, including money and other valuables. Most have been provided with aid from sympathizers and international relief organizations, but the relief provided to them is minimal at best.
The Catholic Church has been instrumental in distributing aid, collecting donations from around the world to save Christians and others who are fleeing the Islamic State.
Pope Francis has sent a special envoy to help aid these Christians and aid is being collected for those in need. Despite all efforts, Christians have been eradicated from places they have known for two millennia. This is genocide, plain and simple. Even in spite of airstrikes, there seems to be no going back.
©Assyrian International News Agency.