I’m writing this with a very heavy heart. From day one, I’ve never ceased to follow the ongoing crises in Iraq- the radical killings and take over by ISIS militants, the declaration of the Islamic state in ISIS controlled areas and the oppression and victimization of minority groups. Now, the ISIS is at it again. the very extreme Islamic militant group told the Christian population in Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city, to either convert, pay a special task or flee the city. ISIS told Christians they must convert, pay special tax or leave Mosul, Iraq and if they did not, there would be ‘nothing for them but the sword. The deadline of noon (9am GMT) today was relayed by mosques in the region.
This terrible act of the ISIS has caused thousands of Christians to flee the city of Mosul and have now joined Shiite and other refugees in nearby Kurdistan. Chaldean patriarch Louis Sako, who heads Iraq’s largest Christian community, bitterly said, ‘for the first time in history, Mosul is empty of Christians.’
Christians have however not been the only minority group to be affected by the ISIS so called ‘Islamic Caliphate’ which it established after forcefully taking over some cities in Iraq. Other minorities rooted in the same province of Nineveh have suffered even more than the Christians, according to crimes Human Rights Watch documented against the Yazidis, as well as the Turkmen and Shabak Shiite communities.
The mass displacement was the latest in six weeks of turmoil which has forced more than 600,000 people from their homes, left thousands dead and brought Iraq to the brink of collapse.