Iraq: Christians flee sectarian terror in Mosul

Attacks in the Iraqi city of Mosul have forced nearly 1,000 Christians, or some 500 families, to flee their homes over the past week, the governor of the northern Ninawa (Nineveh) province reports. Duraid Mohammed Kashmoula Oct. 11 said most have taken shelter in schools, churches, monasteries and the homes of relatives in the northern and eastern fringes of Ninawa. Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako said Iraq’s Christians are facing a campaign of “liquidation” and called on the US military to do more to protect them.

A wave of attacks have left at least 11 Mosul Christians dead since Sept. 28, sparking what Kashmoula described a period of “major displacement.” Several homes have also been destroyed, with three blown up on Oct. 11 alone.

Iraq’s estimated 800,000 Christians, some 3% of the country’s 26 million people, have increasingly taken refuge in Mosul to escape violence and persecution elsewhere in the country. But US forces now say Sunni insurgents have also taken refuge in Mosul after being driven from other parts of Iraq—and are apparently attacking Christians there. The Iraqi Council for Minorities (ICM) has called on Iraq’s government to take urgent measures to protect Christians in the northern city of Mosul.

In recent weeks, hundreds of Christians have taken to the streets of Mosul and Baghdad to protest a new law on provincial elections which deprives them of small quotas of seats in Nineveh, Baghdad and other provinces. The new law, approved by Iraq’s parliament last week, repeals the old law’s Article 50, which had guaranteed seats for minorities. (Reuters, AFP, AlJazeera, Christians of Iraq, Oct. 11)

See our last post on the sectarian cleansing in Iraq and Iraqi Christians.