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One year after the fall of Mosul, Iraqi Christians remain in painful limbo
"Incidents such as this, for the fundamentalists, symbolize their triumph over Christianity. For us, it's another wound in a heart that has already been pierced through and through."
By Marta Petrosillo
NEW YORK—One year ago last night, tens of thousands of Christians fled from Mosul, certain that they would soon be able to return to their homes. A year later, ISIS remains in firm control of Iraq’s second-largest city.
"As the months have passed, so our hopes of returning to our homes have faded more and more,” Father Georges Jahoula, a priest of the Syrian Catholic Diocese of Mosul, told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. "Many Christians have found themselves obliged to seek this hope elsewhere, outside Iraq,” he said.
For many displaced Christians stranded in Kurdish Iraq emigration seems like the only option left "They have been torn away from their land. They were given no choice; they were uprooted by force,” said the priest.
News coming out of Mosul and the Plain of Nineveh is only adding to the suffering of the Christian community. Mosul’s Syrian Catholic church of Saint Ephraim was turned into a mosque just yesterday (June 9, 2015), a cynical gesture by ISIS to mark the one-year anniversary of the capture of the town. "Incidents such as this, for the fundamentalists, symbolize their triumph over Christianity. For us, it’s another wound in a heart that has already been pierced through and through,” said Father Jahoula.
Since the seizure of Mosul Aid to the Church in Need has given over $7.5M in support of the Christians of Iraq.
ACN photo: waiting for better times in Kurdish Iraq