Iraq: Violence Forces Iraqi Christians To Flee Mosul
By SAHAR BADRAN – “Violence remains a fact of life in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, nine years after US forces deposed Saddam Hussein. While all sects have fallen victim to relentless bombing and shooting attacsk, members of the city’s once-numerous Christian community say they are being singled out.
Two waves of killings and intimidation in 2008 and 2010 sent Christians fleeing from Mosul in such haste that the United Nations had to arrange emergency assistance. Umm Ishwa, 50, abandoned the city for a safer village even earlier, and has stayed there since.
‘We left Mosul when my son, a doctor, was assassinated near his clinic in 2006,’ she told dpa. Mosul, 400 kilometres north of the capital Baghdad, remains one of the most violent places in Iraq despite a government security campaign. The authorities admit they still have much to do.
‘Attacks targeting Christians in the city are still continuing, in addition to daily violence,’ says General Ahmad Mohammed al-Jabouri, director general of the Mosul police. ‘And that is despite the security measures that have been taken, which include deploying all kinds of security as well as a special intelligence effort.’
‘Between 2005 and 2011,’ al-Jabouri explained, ‘our operational command recorded the assassination of some 69 Christians, including university students, priests, female employees and housewives. The last attack targeting Christians was in March 2012 when armed men killed a Christian man, his wife and injured a four-year-old child.’
‘We are working to bring about a quiet life for the Christians,’ he adds.
Some 25,000 Christians lived in Mosul, which with a total population of almost 2 million is Iraq’s second-largest city. Many more live in the surrounding Nineveh province.” Read more.
Flashback: Iraq’s ‘Twilight of Christianity’: Fleeing Islamic Extremism, Exodus From North Signals Iraqi Christians’ Slow Decline – “Iraq’s dwindling Christians, driven from their homes by attacks and intimidation, are beginning to abandon the havens they had found in the country’s north, discouraged by unemployment and a creeping fear that the violence they had fled was catching up to them. Their quiet exodus to Turkey, Jordan, Europe and the United States is the latest chapter of a seemingly inexorable decline that many religious leaders say tolls the twilight of Christianity in a land where city skylines have long been marked by both minarets and church steeples. Recent assessments say that Iraq’s Christian population has now fallen by more than half since the 2003 American invasion, and with the military’s departure, some Christians say they lost a protector of last resort.” Read more.