Kurdish Authorities Allow Anti-Christian Shoes to Be Sold in North Iraq

AINA – 01/01/2020

(AINA) — According to an article published on a Polish-language website, shop windows in a region dominated by Kurds in northern Iraq displayed footwear with a crucifix embossed on the sole.

The shoes are sold, among others, in a center called “Mega Mall” in Erbil. The website reports that an investigation conducted by some local Assyrian activists revealed that the footwear was produced by a Turkish company called FLO, located in Gaziantep, in southeastern Turkey.

Kurdish shops import the shoes and distribute them in their stores, entice their customers to trample the cross, holy symbol of Christianity and sign of hope and peace.

It is impossible to understand the meaning of such an act in view of Europe’s view of alleged Kurdish democracy, freedom of religion, tolerance of Muslims towards Christianity in Iraq’s Kurdish region. With such acts, Kurdish Muslims show their real attitude towards Christians as the native population of the country and their values. “It is a pity that empty slogans about tolerance and mutual respect, intended for naive Europeans, find fertile soil in Western media and mislead the public,” says the article.

The article goes on to explain how a cross on a shoe sole is perceived in Muslim culture, regardless of which nation represents it. Usually, when Muslims enter the room, they take off their shoes – and then when someone accidentally removed the shoe turns over with the sole up, spits on the sole and places the shoe into the normal position. When there is a cross on the sole, the cross is spitted on. Shoes generally are seen as despised garments. One of the most offensive phrases in that culture is: “You are a shoe.” This statement often leads to serious conflicts.

The range of the offensive assortment included in previous years even more products: women’s footwear, socks, and slippers “decorated” in many places with symbols of the cross.

After protests from the Assyrian Christian population against such acts, the local Kurdish authorities demonstratively withdraw these shoes from one store, usually in front of cameras of foreign correspondents, while allowing them to be sold in others. No one thinks to punish both importers and shop owners for insulting religious feelings of the Christians in a region where a few months ago people were mass murdered for loyalty to the sign of the cross. Instead, the authorities encourage extremely primitive, truly barbaric humiliation of the indigenous people of their country and region, especially during the holiday season.

This attitude towards fellow citizens reveals the true face of the “good-neighbor” attitude of Muslim Kurds to Christian Assyrians, dominated by racism and expansionism. It is no wonder, then, that the wave of protests on social media networks is becoming more widespread: most comments cite regularly recurring historical facts, including the preparation or implemented genocides against the Assyrians by the Kurds during the years 1843, 1895, 1914-1916, as well as the treacherous assassination of the Assyrian patriarch Mar Shimon in 1918 and Kurdish support to the jihadists from Islamic State.

Nobody checked whose order the Turkish company manufactures these shoes. It is certain, however, that if the persons involved in import and sale are somehow related to anyone in power, especially if they are from the Barzani family, then the matter will be covered up, and this practice will certainly be repeated more than once. It is also worth remembering that after the publication of the caricature of Muhammad in the Danish newspaper, churches and Christians were burning in many Muslim countries, and an embargo was announced on Danish goods.

Translated from Polish by AINA.

© 2020 Assyrian International News Agency

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