A member of Congress is calling out Western civilization, President Obama and Congress for their “deafening silence” on the purge by radical Muslims of anything Christian in Iraq, especially Mosul, where Christians had lived for some 2,000 years.
The warning from Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., was blunt.
“Christianity as we know it in Iraq is being wiped out.”
On the House floor, he addressed the fact that Muslims, members of a terror group that has been called Islamic State of Syria and al-Sham, or ISIS, and also Islamic State, have been sweeping across parts of Iraq, killing and destroying.
“I want to read parts of an email I received yesterday from someone in the ground in Iraq: ‘All Mosul churches and monasteries are seized by ISIS. There are around 30. The cross has been removed from all of them. Many of them are burned, destroyed and looted. Many others are being used as ISIS centers. The religious Sunni, Shiite and Christian tombs are destroyed in Mosul. This destruction is endangering very ancient sites, such as prophet Jonah’s tomb, which was broken last week, according to many reporters,’” Wolf said.
“‘It has been widely reported that ISIS soldiers have painted ‘N’ on the doors of Christians to signify that they are ‘Nasara,’ the word for Christian,” he said. “With the exception of Israel, the Bible contains more references to the cities, regions and nations of ancient Iraq than any other country.”
He called the attacks on Christians “genocide.”
“I also believe it is a crime against humanity,” he said. “Where is the West? Where is the Obama administration? Where is the Congress? The silence is deafening. The West, particularly the church, needs to speak out.”
He said the Obama administration “needs to make protecting this ancient community a priority.’
“President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry need to have the same courage as President Bush and former Secretary of State Colin Powell when they said genocide was taking place in Darfur,” he said. “The Congress needs to hold this administration accountable for its failure to act. The United Nations has a role, too. It should immediately initiate proceedings in the International Criminal Court against ISIS for crimes against humanity.”
Multiple reports have documented the ISIS purge in Mosul. At one point, Muslims gave Christians three alternatives: adopt Islam, pay a jizya tax (a tax for not being Muslim in an area under Muslim control) or “the sword.”
Families chased out of their homes and city with no more than the clothes they were wearing reported they were “robbed.”
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako told Agence France-Press: “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.”
Wolf quoted from an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, under the headline “The Christian Purge From Mosul.”
“Imagine if a fundamentalist Christian sect captured the French city of Lyon and began a systematic purge of Muslims. Their mosques were destroyed, their crescents defaced, the Quran burned and then all Muslims forced to flee or face execution. Such an event would be unthinkable today, and if it did occur Pope Francis and all other Christian leaders would denounce it and support efforts by governments to stop it,” the commentary said.
“Yet that is essentially what is happening in reverse now in Mosul, as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham drives all signs of Christianity from the ancient city. Christians have lived in Mosul for nearly 2,000 years, but today they are reliving the Muslim religious wars of the Middle Ages.”
That editorial closed, according to Wolf, with: “Today’s religious extremism is almost entirely Islamic. While ISIS’s purge may be the most brutal, Islamists in Egypt have driven thousands of Coptic Christians from homes they’ve occupied for centuries. The same is true across the Muslim parts of Africa. This does not mean that all Muslims are extremists, but it does mean that all Muslims have an obligation to denounce and resist the extremists who murder or subjugate in the name of Allah. Too few imams living in the tolerant West will speak up against it. As for the post-Christian West, most elites may now be nonbelievers. But a culture that fails to protect believers may eventually find that it lacks the self-belief to protect itself.”
Wolf warned Congress with a quote of William Wilberforce, the great abolitionist and British parliamentarian.
“Having heard all of this, you may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know,” Wilberforce said.
Wolf, just a day earlier in Congress, read a statement from Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.
“As the widespread violence and aggression facing Christians and minority groups in Mosul, Iraq, intensifies, it is increasingly evident that the fundamental right and freedom to practice one’s faith and belief is, and continues to be, grossly violated,” the bishop said. “We are currently witnessing an unacceptable widespread implementation of extremist religious ideology that threatens the lives of all Iraqis who do not fit within its ever-narrowing perspective. While this situation stands to eradicate centuries of co-existence and culture in the region it also threatens to significantly and negatively impact these communities for generations to come. If left unchallenged, it is not Iraq alone that is at risk, but the potential is intensified for the replication of this ideology as a viable and legitimate model for others across the Middle East.”
The ISIS reportedly destroyed the grave traditionally considered to be that of Jonah, the Old Testament prophet swallowed by a giant fish when he fled from God’s instructions to evangelize Ninevah.
WND has reported over the years on Islamic attempts to rid Iraq and other Middle East areas of Christians.
International Christian Concern reported the murders of four Christians in Baghdad and Kirkuk and speculated whether it was the beginning of a purge.
“Though the perpetrators of the murders are not yet indicated, Islamic fundamentalists, criminal gangs and other armed groups have been behind attacks against Christians in Iraq in the past,” said the organization, which works with members of the persecuted church around the globe.
Sako told the organization that 750 Christians were murdered over a period of several years and tens of thousands fled their homes.
At that time, ICC estimated half of about 1.2 million Iraqi Christians had abandoned their homes in recent years, with many fleeing to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Most recently, it’s been estimated that as many as three quarters of that total number of Christians is gone.
After a report of violence, Jonathan Racho, the regional manager for ICC in Africa and the Middle East, said the “suffering of Iraqi Christians has been beyond description and is not yet over.”
“More than ever, the Iraqi Christians need our prayer and support. The latest martyrdom of our brothers should serve to awaken churches in the Western countries to come to the aid of their Iraqi brothers and sisters. We call upon Iraqi officials and the allied forces in Iraq to avert further attacks against Iraqi Christians. It is simply unacceptable to watch the extinction of the Christian community from Iraq.”
Many of the problems started developing about 2006, after the adoption of an Iraqi constitution that is based on Islam.
That document states: “Article (2): 1st – Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation: (a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.”
Analysts said the constitution subjugates Iraq’s Christians to the rule of Islamic law.