A revered Muslim shrine in Mosul, Iraq, said to be the burial place of the biblical prophet Jonah known as Yunus in the Koran, was reportedly blown "to dust" by members of the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Thursday.
"Islamic State completely destroyed the shrine of Nabi Yunus after telling local families to stay away and closing the roads to a distance of 500 meters from the shrine," an official at the Sunni endowment, which manages Sunni religious affairs in Iraq told AFP.
The official who asked not to be identified said the militants took an hour to rig the shrine before levelling it to the ground. He explained that other notable shrines had also been destroyed by ISIS: "But the worst destruction was of Nabi Yunus, which has been turned to dust." more >>
Members of a militant Islamic group is demanding shopkeepers to cover their store mannequins with full-face veils to abide by the strict Islamic teaching regarding the human form.
Local residents of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, have told international media outlets that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), now called the Islamic State, have demanded local shopkeepers to cover both male and female mannequins with veils. This mandate coincides with a strict interpretation of Shariah law that forbids artwork and statues depicting the human form.
People around the world are uniting with persecuted Christians in Iraq through the Twitter hashtag "WeAreN," meant to reference the "N" painted on the doors of Christians in Iraq that make them a target for militant Islamists.
Supporters have either changed their Twitter photo to an image of the Arabic letter ن or "N", which stands for "Nazarene" or "Christian" in Arabic. Members of the jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have invaded towns, including Mosul, demanding Christians either convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. To identify the Christians in the town, members of the ISIS have painted the "N" on their front doors.
The Church of England changed its profile to the Arabic letter for "N," writing: "We are changing our picture to stand with those showing solidarity for those Christians being persecuted in Mosul #WeAreN." more >>
As militant group ISIS continued its attacks in Iraq, killing 31 people on Tuesday in a suicide blast in Baghdad, the country's bishops have pleaded for the government to stop the "catastrophe" and protect Christians who are being driven out in masses.
The appeal came from Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and all the Chaldean, Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic and Armenian Bishops in northern Iraq, Fides News Agency reported, and called on the government to provide "financial support to displaced people who have lost everything."
Thousands of Christians have been fleeing northern Iraq and are "near extinction" according to several persecution watchdog groups. Christians in the city of Mosul, which was captured by ISIS in June, were given an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or die. more >>
At least five Christian families who were not healthy enough to flee Mosul, Iraq after the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ordered them to convert to Islam or be executed, have renounced their faith for Islam, according to a local government minister.
"There are five Christian families who converted to Islam because they were threatened with death," Younadim Kanna, a Christian and a member of Iraq's Parliament told The New York Times. "They did so just to stay alive."
ISIS had given the Christians until Saturday to get out of Mosul, Iraq's second largest City which is almost as old as Christianity itself. In the days leading up to the deadline, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad, Louis Raphael Sako, appealed for global help and explained last week in a letter published by AINA News that ISIS had started marking the homes of Christians, the majority of whom fled with little more than the clothes on their backs. more >>
As Iraq's Christians continue fleeing the city of Mosul and other regions following a "convert or die" ultimatum by Islamic militants ISIS, persecution watchdog group Open Doors said that the "unprecedented" forced exodus has left Christianity in the Middle East near extinction.
"The persecution and treatment of Christians in Mosul is unprecedented in modern times," Dr. David Curry, President/CEO of Open Doors USA, said in a statement on Monday. "This latest forced exodus of Christians further shows why Western governments and the people in the West need to cry out in support for religious freedom in the Middle East and elsewhere. If this does not move us concerning the near extinction of Christianity in the Middle East, it's likely nothing else can."
ISIS, which has taken control of Mosul and other parts of Iraq, gave Christians until midday Saturday to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. Thousands of Christians have subsequently fled the region, with some seeking refuge at camps in the autonomous region of Kurdistan. more >>