Iraqi militants remove crosses from churches, burn manuscripts: patriarch

Published: August 7, 2014
Iraq militants have removed crosses from churches, burn manuscripts PHOTO: REUTERS

Iraq militants have removed crosses from churches, burn manuscripts PHOTO: REUTERS

KIRKUK: Militants who took over large areas of northern Iraq on Thursday have forced 100,000 Christians to flee and have occupied churches, removing crosses and destroying manuscripts, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako said.
“There are 100,000 displaced Christians who have fled with nothing but their clothes, some of them on foot, to reach the Kurdistan region,” he told AFP.
“This is a humanitarian disaster. The churches are occupied, their crosses were taken down,” said Sako, the leader of Iraq’s largest Christian denomination, which is aligned with the Roman Catholic Church. He added that up to 1,500 manuscripts were burnt.

The Islamic State (IS) group, which swept across much of Iraq’s Sunni heartland two months ago, attacked several towns and villages east of its main hub of Mosul, the country’s second city.
Among them was Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian town with a population of around 50,000, and several surrounding areas that were previously controlled by the Kurdish peshmerga force.
Fleeing residents reached by phone as they tried to enter the neighbouring autonomous region of Kurdistan confirmed the militant takeover.
AFP could not immediately verify the current status of those towns, which witnesses said have been completely emptied of their usual population.
“Daash (IS) militants last night attacked most villages in the Nineveh plains, firing mortar rounds and seizing some of them,” Sako said, speaking from his base in Kirkuk.
“The government is unable to defend our people, as is the Kurdistan government. They need to work together, receive international support and modern military equipment.”
“Today, we appeal with lots of pain and sadness, to all people of good will, the UN Security Council, European Union and relief organisations, to help those people who are facing mortal danger,” Sako said.
“I hope it is not too late to avoid a genocide,” he added.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (7)

  • Pakistani
    Aug 7, 2014 - 4:47PM

    Seriously forcefully converting people to Islam, humiliating Churches. Is this how they want to spread Islam. Amazing


  • ajeet
    Aug 7, 2014 - 5:19PM

    They want secularism when in minority.


  • Indian
    Aug 7, 2014 - 8:25PM

    Muslims always want secularism or religious tolerance when in minority. But once they are in majority this is what happens.


  • Naveed
    Aug 8, 2014 - 1:36AM

    IS militants should not be called Muslims, the degree of damage they have caused to the religion, no one ever did that before. The things which they are doing is against the teaching of Islam. They are planted and funded by USA and Israel with a theme to defame Islam and till now they are very successful.


  • ajeet
    Aug 8, 2014 - 3:06AM

    How do you think it spread in Pakistan?


  • Stranger
    Aug 8, 2014 - 10:45AM

    Am beginning to think that Uncle Sam should mind his own business . He has created enough damage world wide .


  • Aug 8, 2014 - 12:09PM


    > the degree of damage they have caused
    > to the religion, no one ever did that
    > before.

    What about Temple looters and destroyers, Universities burners since 6th-7th centuries. Culture of whole Iran and Iraq is gone. Greece and Egypt gone. Historical places bombed or destroyed. You are seeing news and have to believe because you have access to internet and now Information cant be censored or stored nor can be twisted. While you think that what you read in history book is true only and hence every misdeed in history which I believe is much more than modern era damages done.Recommend

More in World