While a small number of Christians have inhabited Iraq for over 2,000 years, the multiple political conflicts and changes in Iraq have resulted in their displacement and emigration. However, the taking control of Sinjar and Mosul Dam in northern Iraq by the ISIS jihadists has led hundreds of thousands of religious minorities, among which were about one hundred thousand Christians, to leave their homes.This is one of the worst displacements Iraqi Christians have experienced. They left their homes with three choices: convert to Islam, pay jizya (a poll tax levied onnon-Muslims), or die at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now called IS.IS have marked Christian houses in Mosul with the phrase “property of the IslamicState” and an Arabic mark for “Nazirite”.
More than 200 Christian families have been fleeing Mosul as IS militants confiscated their belongings, including cars, money, medicine, and food.
Where to Go?
This is first question that came to their minds, leaving homes with only the clothes they were wearing. Jordan has welcomed about 1000 Iraqi Christians. Our Lady of Peace Center in cooperation with Caritas has opened its doors to welcome about one hundred Christians from 22 Iraqi families. The children number 35: 4 ranging in age from the 1 month to 2 years, 21 from 2 to 12 years, 10from 12 to 18 and the rest are parents and old people.These Christians need not only a place to stay but the simplest basic needs since they have fled their home with practically nothing. Fr. Imad Twal General Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (LPJ) and previous director of OLPC has personally visited them, expressed his support and prayers for them and,most of all, reaffirmed the real desire of LPJ to help them.
Father Imad Twal, General Administrator, Latin Patriachate of Jerusalem