Friday, July 4, 2014

Press round up minorities in Iraq

Vice magazine report from the Christian city of Qarqoush in Ninawa plains

Report about Kurdish Yazidis in Iraq in Arabic by LBCI (Lebanon)

by Mohammed A. Salih, Al Monitor
(...)“It was a dangerous situation for Christians,” Um Hanna told Al-Monitor, standing among her family members. “No one knows how the situation in Mosul will end for Christians.”

So far, at least, the worst fears of Um Hanna and many others like her have not come true.

Many like Um Hanna expected ISIS to engage in a campaign of eliminating non-Muslims — such as Christians and followers of the ancient Mesopotamian Yazidi faith. ISIS, it was assumed, would soon embark on destroying their cultural heritage in Mosul. A number of Christian community leaders Al-Monitor spoke with estimate a couple hundred Christians might still be in Mosul. But, the jihadists seem to have refrained from acts of large-scale violence against those groups or the systematic destruction of their religious or cultural symbols.

This stands in contrast to their track record in neighboring Syria, where they have engaged in a brutal campaign of killing significant numbers of followers of other religions. The ISIS militants in Syria have also destroyed religious and archaeological sites of minorities.

Comparatively, in Mosul, a few Christian monks and individuals appear to have been subjected to abductions. Accounts of killings are disputed and unverifiable at this point.

Despite media reports of ISIS plans to destroy Christian archaeological relics and religious sites, so far only a statue of the Virgin Mary appears to have been destroyed, based on accounts provided to Al-Monitor by knowledgeable sources on the ground(...)

Christians displaced again by Iraqi violence 
by Shaida al-Ameen, Al Monitor
AINKAWA, Iraq — An estimated 10,000 Christians have been displaced from the Nineveh plains to Iraqi Kurdistan during the past few days as a result of raids by the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), surrounding the majority-Christian Hamdaniyah district. Al-Monitor has confirmed that shelters for displaced persons have been opened in the town of Ainkawa, in Erbil province. (...)
Ainkawa Mayor Jalal Habib told Al-Monitor, “Ten thousand Christian citizens were displaced to Ainkawa in the past few days, and 20 schools and youth centers were turned into shelters to accommodate them. Moreover, the Barzani Charity Foundation, UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees] and UNICEF … in addition to several other civil associations have provided humanitarian aid to the displaced.” (...)
Romeo Hakari, general secretary of the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party, which represents Iraqi Christians' interests, told Al-Monitor: “The regions inhabited by Christians are located between the hammer and the anvil of the federal government and the Iraqi Kurdistan region, although the latter offered some services during the past two years to these regions. The task of taking care of the affected regions is the responsibility of the federal government and the Nineveh Provincial Council, which has not offered any real services in the past.”

Hakari said, “The Iraqi Kurdistan region specifically has to take care of these areas,” citing the inhabitants' feeling that Iraqi Kurdistan is their safe haven. “Fortunately, there weren’t any casualties in the wake of the raids. However, fear of arbitrary raids and attacks from the terrorist ISIS and other militias on their regions pushed thousands of Christians to flee to the Iraqi Kurdistan region. We tried to stop the wave of displacements, but fear has taken hold of the citizens and driven them out of their regions.”(...)
Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako
Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako
Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako

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