One Year After the Fall of Mosul, Iraqi Christians Remain in Painful Limbo

Anniversary marks another wound in heart ‘already pierced through and through’

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This report is contributed by Marta Petrosillo of Aid to the Church in Need.

It was one year ago this week that 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 Plane 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 this week, 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.

Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. (USA); (UK); (AUS); (IRL); (CAN) (Malta)

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