In the night of 9 to 10 June 2014 tens of thousands of Christians fled from Mosul, certain that they would soon be able to return to their homes. Now one year has passed, and the second city of Iraq is still in the hands of the men of the so-called Islamic State.
“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 ACN, adding, “Many Christians have found themselves obliged to seek this hope elsewhere, outside Iraq.”
Father Jahoula points out how the Christians have been forced to emigrate. “They have been torn away from their land. They were given no choice; they were uprooted by force.”
The news coming from Mosul and the Plain of Niniveh is only adding to the suffering of the Christian community. News such as the transformation of the Syrian Catholic church of Saint Ephraim into a mosque, which was carried out yesterday by Isis precisely in order to celebrate this unhappy anniversary. “Incidents such as this, for the fundamentalists, represent a triumph over Christianity. Whereas for us they are simply yet another wound in a heart that has already been pierced through and through.”
Since the seizure of Mosul and up till today ACN has given over 7,200,000 Euros in support of the Christians of Iraq. It is a commitment that will continue to be a priority for this pontifical foundation.
“Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is a Foundation of pontifical right, founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten. It is distinctive in being the only organisation that supports the pastoral projects of the Church wherever she is persecuted or deprived of the means to fulfil her mission. During 2014 ACN raised donations of over 105 million Euros via its 21 different national offices and was able to support 5,614 different projects in 145 countries around the world.