Mosul (AsiaNews) – A crusade is under way to impose Islamic law in Mosul in northern Iraq, a city where threats and violence against Christians have reached the level of real persecution for ideological and political ends. As Christmas draws near, Christians are confined to their homes that have become like “prison” which they dare not leave for fear of kidnappings and killings. It is difficult for them to emigrate because Arab and European countries have decided to close their doors.
Kidnappings and murders are the order of day for Christians in Baghdad too, but in Mosul the situation is different and more worrying. Testimonies that reached AsiaNews claimed that actions directly targeting Christians of Mosul are not motivated solely by lucre – ransom demands, property seizure – but rather there is a political plan behind them. Sunni extremists have this city as their stronghold and they seem to be aiming to set up a so-called Islamic Emirate incorporating the provinces of Salahaddin, Anbar, Diyala, Baghdad and part of Wasit. Mosul would be the capital.
Up to a year ago, members of the Christian community were confident things would change but now they have only words of despair to describe their situation. “We are living the period of Advent, the happiest of the whole year, as if we were in prison. The world is preparing to celebrate while we prepare to die. Who will listen to our cries, who can help us now that we feel like strangers in our own homeland?”
The Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans, Emmanuel III Delly, urged all Chaldeans of the world to observe the “Bautha” fast of Nineveh (a feature of the Assyrian liturgy to commemorate the fasting of residents of Nineveh during the time of the prophet Jonah) on 18 and 19 December “so that the Lord may concede the gift of peace to our Iraq, of security and stability and that a climate of brotherhood and charity among the sons of Iraq may come about.”