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IRAQI MELTDOWN – JULY 2014: A CRISIS ESPECIALLY FOR IRAQ’S CHRISTIANS

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ISLAMIC STATE DEFIED OVER IRAQ’S CROOKED MINARET IN MOSUL

July 29, 2014

Tilting al-Hadba minaret in Mosul

Residents of Mosul have watched helplessly as extremists ruling the northern Iraqi city blew up some of their most beloved landmarks and shrines to impose a stark vision of Islam. Next up for destruction, they feared: the Crooked Minaret, a more than 840-year-old tower that leans like Italy’s Tower of Pisa.

But over the weekend, residents pushed back. When fighters from the Islamic State group loaded with heavy explosives converged on the site, Mosulis living nearby rushed to the courtyard below the minaret, sat on the ground and linked arms to form a human chain to protect it, two residents who witnessed the event told The Associated Press on Monday.

They told the fighters, If you blow up the minaret, you’ll have to kill us too, the witnesses said.

The militants backed down and left, said the witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the militants.

But residents are certain the militants will try again. Over the past two weeks, the extremists ruling Iraq’s second largest city have shrugged off previous restraint and embarked on a brutal campaign to purge Mosul of anything that challenges their radical interpretation of Islam. The militants – though Sunnis – target shrines revered by other Sunni Muslims because the sites are dedicated to popular religious figures. In the radicals’ eyes, that commits one of the worst violations of Islam: encouraging worship of others besides God.

The scene on Saturday was a startling show of bravery against a group that has shown little compunction against killing anyone who resists it. It reflects the horror among some residents over what has become of their beloved city.

“The bombing of shrines … has nothing to do with Islam,” Abu Abaida, 44, a government employee, told the AP by phone from the city. “They are erasing the culture and history of Mosul.” Like other residents, he spoke to the AP on condition he be identified by a nickname or first name for fear of retaliation.

When militants from the Islamic State group first swept into in Mosul in June, they proclaimed themselves the mainly Sunni city’s saviour from the Shiite-led Iraqi government in Baghdad. Their first priority was to rebuild infrastructure and provide services like garbage collection that the government had neglected. They held off from implementing their strict version of Islamic law, urging modesty for women but doing little to enforce it and generally leaving alone the Christian population that had not already fled.

The aim, it seemed, was to avoid alienating a Sunni community whose support they needed.

Now, the honeymoon is over. In recent weeks, they have purged the city of nearly its entire Christian population, moved to restrict women and began the systematic destruction of city landmarks.

“No place is safe,” said Dia, an engineering professor in Mosul. “If I say one wrong thing, I am dead.”

The Crooked Minaret – al-Manara al-Hadba in Arabic – was built in 1172 as part of the Great al-Nour Mosque, and it it leans about right 2.4 metres off perpendicular. It’s so well known it is pictured on Iraq’s 10,000-dinar note.

Its national symbolism appears to be one reason why the militants despise it – since they see nationalism as another anathema. Moreover, local legends surround the minaret, and extremists generally see such stories as un-Islamic inventions that mislead the faithful and must be purged.

Local lore, for example, has it that the minaret tilts because it bowed in reverence to the Prophet Muhammad as he made an ascent to heaven.

Nearly daily, the militants have been destroying some of the city’s most famed sites.

On Thursday, they lay a wall of explosives around the Mosque of the Prophet Younis – or Jonah, the prophet who in both the Bible and Quran was swallowed by a whale. They ordered everyone out of the shrine, which is said to contain the prophet’s tomb, and blew it up.

The next day, it was the turn of the Mosque of Sheeth, or Seth, said to be the burial site of the third son of Adam and Eve. On Saturday, they reduced to rubble the Mosque of the Prophet Jirjis.

Last week, they removed the crosses on the domes and brick walls of the 1,800-year old Mar Behnam monastery, then stormed it, forcing the monks and priest to flee or face death. The move came days after jihadists proclaimed over loudspeakers from mosques that Christians must convert to Islam, pay a tax or die, prompting the flight of almost all the Christians who remained in the city.

Women’s rights are now being abruptly restricted. The militants hung banners at on the wall of the Heibat Khatoun mosque before Friday prayers instructing women to wear loose clothing and cover their faces. No bright colours. No patterns.

They then distributed a statement to tailors and shops that sell women’s clothes informing them of their newly imposed dress code, shopkeepers told the AP. An Associated Press reporter saw several female mannequins in shops with their faces covered.

“Even at the time of Prophet Muhammad, there was no face veil,” said Um Farouq, 55, a Mosul resident. “These people with Daesh are just making up ideas that do not exist in Islamic Shariah,” she said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

The group had already shown its true colours in Syria, where it holds a large swath of the east and north. There, its fighters have banned music, imposed full veils, imposed taxes on Christians and killed people in main squares for defying their Shariah rules. Earlier this month, for the first time, they stoned to death two women accused of adultery.

Iraq’s Mosul was once famed for its religious and ethnic diversity, and it is one of few cities in Iraq where a significant number of Christians remained after the US-led invasion. It was a traditional stronghold both for Islamic conservatives and more secular pan-Arab nationalists.

Mosulis who cannot bear the extremists’ rule have joined more than a million other Iraqis who have fled their homes in areas under the group’s control.

“The situation is becoming really miserable for us,” said Abdul-Rahman Odai, a 25-year-old from Mosul who fled to the Kurdish province of Dohuk with his family. He said militants have seized government buildings and the homes of local officials. “They will not stop until they take everything.”

AP

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/world/islamic-state-defied-over-iraqs-crooked-minaret-in-mosul-20140729-zxwgz.html

ISIS flag flies over entrance into Mosul

OUT OF MOSUL: HOW ONE FAMILY OF IRAQI CHRISTIANS WAS FORCED TO FLEE FROM ISIS

28 JULY 2014 – By Sophie Cousins

 Earlier this month, ISIS gave Mosul’s Christians few options: convert to Islam, pay a religious tax, leave – or face death.

In a small room with three single beds, a disabled Iraqi Christian woman laid uncomfortably, her wheelchair beside her.

The blistering sun shone in as the woman’s sister, Ikram Hama described the evening the family of six was forced to flee Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, after it was captured by Islamic State (IS) militants in June.

Earlier this month IS gave Mosul’s Christians few options: convert to Islam, pay a religious tax, leave, or face death. But the day before the final exodus, Christians were informed that paying the tax was no longer an option.

“It was illegal for us to leave the house, so we knew it wasn’t going to end well. Luckily a Christian soldier helped us and we escaped late at night with just the clothes on our back,” Ms Hama said.

“IS (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) found our home and marked it with “N”, meaning that we are Christian and our house is their property.

“Sick people, disabled people, poor people were all forced to leave. They (IS) killed my cousin after they looked at his id. We have no money and my sister has a disability. We are in a bad situation. For us, Iraq is over.”

Thousands of Christians fled east and north to the nearby semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, with nothing but the clothes on their back.

The Hama family fled, along with 250 others, to the picturesque Mar Mattai Monastery, situated at the top of Mount Alfaf, 20km from Mosul.

Mar Mattai Monastery - Mt Alaf 20km from Mosul

Those who SBS spoke with at the monastery said they believed it was no longer possible for Christians to live in Iraq.

“They (IS) changed our church into a mosque, ruined historic museums, and destroyed a monastery and manuscripts that were 1000 years old. Iraq is gone. Iraq is finished. We’re finished. It’s impossible for us to go back,” Raad Ghanem, with a greying beard, said in a crowded room filled with men and women drinking tea.

“When we left in the middle of the night, we were stripped of everything. Money, wallets, jewelry, ID, passports, watches. Everything. At the Daesh checkpoint on the way out of the city, my wife was even stripped of her earrings. They (IS) took everything of value we had.”

This is not the first time Christians from the ancient city have had to flee their homes. It is estimated that a decade ago there were about 60,000 Christians in the city, but after waves of attacks on the minority group, the population was reduced to half as of June this year. Christians mainly from the Chaldean and Assyrian denominations had lived in Mosul for about 2000 years.

Nurse Nadia Nafik Ishaq said it was the second time she had to flee her home. The last time was in 2010 when her husband and brother were killed.

“We all fled to Kurdistan. It’s the only place we can go. We would like to go abroad but where are we supposed to go?

“Our house and all our things were taken. We are not safe in Iraq. It is not possible for Christians to live in Iraq anymore. It’s over,” she said.

“What is the solution?”

While the expulsion of Christian’s from Mosul has received international condemnation, with no identification, or money, the future of Iraq’s Christians remains unknown.

Sophie Cousins is a freelance foreign correspondent.

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/07/28/out-mosul-how-one-family-iraqi-christians-was-forced-flee-isis

View of Mosul from al-Tahrir checkpoint

IRAQ ISIS CRISIS: CHRISTIANS, HOUNDED OUT OF MOSUL, TRAPPED IN DESERT AND REFUGEE CAMPS

July 28, 2014 – By Jayalakshmi K

Seventy-year-old Yacub was among the few Christians who did not obey the Isis ultimatum issued to all Christians to leave the city of Mosul by 19 July. He was too old to leave.

When the Sunni extremists came forcing their way into his house to kill him, his Muslim neighbours pleaded with the rebels to spare him.

“All the people in my neighbourhood were Muslim. They came to help me — about 20 people — at the door in front of my house. They tried to convince Isis not to kill me.”

They spared him but took away his ID card and threw him out of his house.

Mosul had boasted a Christian community for almost 2,000 years. But the al-Qaeda splinter group that took over the city last month gave Christians an ultimatum — stay and pay a tax or convert to Islam or be killed.

A report by Human Rights Watch found that homes in Mosul were painted with the letter “N” for Nasrani (the Arabic word for Christian). Others were painted with the letter “R” for Rafidah, a word commonly used by Sunnis to describe Shiites.

The vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq warned that the end for Christians in the country appears “very near”.

Trapped in desert

Canon Andrew White told BBC Radio 4Today that desperate Christians were trapped in the desert or on the streets with nowhere to go.

While an estimated two million Christians called Iraq home in the 1990s, church leaders say that figure plunged to around 200,000 by last year. The sudden rise of the Isis has sent Christians fleeing in terror.

Like other Christians, Yacub headed for Qaraqosh, about 20 miles southeast of Mosul, a city protected by Kurdish Peshmerga troops, for now. He occupies an unfinished house which he shares with dozens of other refugees.

Most of them have similar tales of terror to tell, of being booted away unceremoniously from their homes, looted to the last dinar by Isis agents.

Young girls, old women, all have been subjected to the same treatment.

More than 400 of these refugee families have passed through Qaraqosh alone. This is only a fraction of a thousand Christians who were in Mosul until recently.

About 35 families have stayed at the local seminary, where the Archbishop of Northern Iraq for the Syrian Catholic Church is based.

The situation in Qaraqosh is grim with scarce power and water.

How long the city will remain a safe haven is to be seen. According to Yacub, one of the Isis militants at the checkpoint told him ominously: “Go to your family in Qaraqosh. We’re coming there, too.”

Assad regime underestimated Isis Meanwhile, a series of recent setbacks for the Syrian regime at the hands of Isis is said to be spooking Syrians who fear the government underestimated Isis. Hundreds of regime soldiers and paramilitary troops have been killed in battles with Isis in three different provinces over the last 10 days: the Shaar gas field in rural Homs, the Division 17 military base outside the city of Raqqa, and the Regiment 121 post in rural Hassakeh. The regime had been stepping up its aerial attacks on Isis positions in Raqqa but these ended up causing more civilian damage than putting off the hard-line al-Qaeda splinter group. Following the fighting in Raqqa, social media platforms circulated photos of Isis’s grim retribution against military personnel in the form of severed heads of half a dozen soldiers, put on public display. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-regime monitoring group based in Britain, estimates that 1,100 regime troops and paramilitary personnel have been killed since President Bashar al-Assad’s declaration of victory against the insurgents on 17 July. On the heels of that victory speech came more skirmishes with rebel groups around the country. Experts believe the gains by Isis against regime positions represent a process that is likely to continue.

Source: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/iraq-isis-crisis-christians-hounded-out-mosul-trapped-desert-refugee-camps-1458647

the-conspiracy-question

HAS LAST CHRISTIAN LEFT IRAQI CITY OF MOSUL AFTER 2,000 YEARS?

BY JONATHAN KROHN

 QARAQOSH, Iraq — Samer Kamil Yacub was alone when four Islamist militants carrying AK-47s arrived at his front door and ordered him to leave the city.

The 70-year-old Christian had failed to comply with a decree issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Yacub’s hometown of Mosul had boasted a Christian community for almost 2,000 years. But then the al Qaeda-inspired fighters who overran the city last month gave Christians an ultimatum. They could stay and pay a tax or convert to Islam — or be killed.

Yacub, 70, was one of the few Christians remaining beyond last Saturday’s noon deadline. He may have even been the last to leave alive.

“[A] fighter said, ‘I have orders to kill you now’,” Yacub said just hours after the Sunni extremists tried to force their way into his home at 11 a.m. on Monday. “All of the people in my neighborhood were Muslim. They came to help me —about 20 people — at the door in front of my house. They tried to convince ISIS not to kill me.”

The rebels spared Yacub but threw him out of the city where he had spent his entire life. They also took his Iraqi ID card before informing him that elderly women would be given his house.

In June, ISIS declared a caliphate covering parts of Syria and Iraq, decreed that all of the world’s Muslims must pledge allegiance to their leader and said it wanted to be known as just “Islamic State.” In Syria, ISIS brought back seventh-century laws to govern Christians after seizing the city of Raqqa. “They have no mercy,” one Christian living there told NBC News in March. In Mosul, ISIS this week ordered shopkeepers to cover the faces of mannequins and blew up a mosque that was said to be the tomb of the Prophet Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale in a biblical story.

While an estimated 2 million Christians called Iraq home in the 1990s, church leaders say that figure plunged to around 200,000 by last year. The sudden rise of ISIS has sent many other Christians fleeing in terror.

Yacub, who struggles to walk, explained that he stayed in Mosul not because he wanted to, but due to his severe health problems. He eventually made his way to Qaraqosh, about 20 miles southeast of Mosul, finding refuge in the Christian city that is under the protection of Kurdish peshmerga troops. He now spends his nights on a thin mattress in an unfinished housing project with dozens of other refugees.

Two of Yacub’s new housemates are Raida Samir-Kaman, 35, and sister Ruwayda, 30. They fled Mosul bound for Qaraqosh with their brother at 3:30 p.m. the day before ISIS’ deadline. At a militant checkpoint, the women were taken out of their car and ushered into a nearby trailer by a female ISIS member dressed in full hijab.

Its interior was barren, but for a small bed in the corner which was covered in a continually replenished mountain of money, gold, and jewelry. The female ISIS agent searched the women, finding money in their bags and hidden within Raida’s clothes. She took it all from them. Next she removed their earrings one by one, placing them in the pile on the bed. She tried to take off Ruwayda’s bracelets, but they got caught on her arm. Eventually the agent was able to yank them off, injuring Ruwayda in the process, and she added them to the growing pile.

“We asked them for 10,000 or 100,000 [Iraqi Dinars — about $8.50 or $85.00] just to take a taxi, or for pocket money,” Raida recalled. “And she refused that.” Once finished, an ISIS fighter who had been standing guard outside the trailer came inside and picked up all the loot, loading it into a car to take it back to Mosul.

Ahead of the sisters in the checkpoint line was a young girl with a ring on her finger. She wept as an ISIS militant tried to pull it off as it kept getting stuck. Even further ahead, Raida remembers seeing an elderly woman pulled out of a car in a wheelchair. ISIS seized the car, forcing her roll through the checkpoint on her own.

More than 400 of these refugee families have passed through Qaraqosh alone. This is only a fraction of the the several thousand Christians who were in Mosul until recently. Of those, about 35 families have stayed at the local seminary, where the Archbishop of Northern Iraq for the Syriac Catholic Church is based. Surrounded by many smaller towns controlled by ISIS, it has become a border town of sorts: a haven near the front lines.

The situation in Qaraqosh is not all rosy, though. Since the fighting between ISIS and the peshmerga last month, water and electricity have become more scarce, leading many to leave. Now the city mostly relies on generator power for electricity and upon imported shipments and freshly dug wells not far from nearby ISIS-controlled towns for its water supply.

For now, Qaraqosh is safe. But whether that will remain the case is another question.

According to Yacub, one of the ISIS militants offered a chilling farewell as he left the checkpoint.

“Go to your family in Qaraqosh,” the fighter said. “Go there. We’re coming there, too.”

Jonathan Krohn is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications including VICE, Salon, Mother Jones, The Guardian and The Atlantic.

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/iraq-turmoil/has-last-christian-left-iraqi-city-mosul-after-2-000-n164856

FRANCE OFFERS ASYLUM TO MOSUL’S CHRISTIANS

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Monday it was ready to welcome Christians from northern Iraq who have been told by the al Qaeda offshoot group now ruling the region to either covert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death.

Islamic State insurgents seized large swathes of northern Iraq last month, prompting hundreds of Christian families in Mosul to flee a city which has hosted the faith since its earliest years.

“We are providing aid to displaced people fleeing from the threats of Islamic Sate and who have sought refuge in Kurdistan. We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil,” France’s foreign and interior ministers said in a joint statement.

“We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki earlier this month condemned the treatment of the Christians and instructed a government committee to help those made homeless. However, he has not said when the army might try to win back control of Mosul.

Islamic State has warned all women in Mosul to wear full-face veils or risk severe punishment. The Sunni insurgents, who have declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, also view Iraq’s majority Shi’ites as infidels who deserve to be killed.

(Reporting by Mark John; Editing by James Regan)

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/france-offers-asylum-mosuls-christians-121225489.html

Iraqi Christians in prayer

LAST REMAINING CHRISTIANS FLEE IRAQ’S MOSUL

The Islamic State group’s ultimatum to Mosul Christians has been condemned by Iraq’s religious scholars

 Catty Otten – 22 July 2014

Erbil, Iraq  After the fall of Mosul to the Islamic State-led groups in early June, Michael (not his real name), an Assyrian Christian from Mosul, decided to remain.

Unlike his fellow Christians who left, Michael wanted “to keep an eye on the city’s churches.” Following the ultimatum, Local church leaders instructed the community members to leave out of fear for their safety.

Fighters led by the Islamic State had made a lightening assault against government forces and took over the city. Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city.

Michael described how a statue of the Virgin Mary had been destroyed  from outside one of Mosul’s churches, and a black flag put in its place. At the time he said he felt like “we are in the quiet before the storm”.

On Thursday, that storm arrived when militants issued their decree to the Christians of Mosul.

The last remaining Christians now have fled Mosul after Islamic State militants issued an ultimatum giving them until noon on July 19, the option to convert to Islam, pay a tax, leave, or be killed if they stayed.

The ultimatum triggered a wave of criticism internationally, but also among Muslim scholars.

On Monday, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, condemned the act against innocent Christian Iraqi citizens in Mosul and Nineveh including forced deportation under the threat of execution.

“This forced displacement is a crime that cannot be tolerated; and the practices of the Islamic State have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence,” he said in a statement.

In 2003, it was thought that Christians in Mosul numbered 35,000. The number dwindled due to a wave of migration. Some estimates put the most recent numbers at 3,000 Christians out of a city of 2 million people. Before the ultimatum, Michael says only a few hundred Christian families remained in the city.

“The [religious] tax was in the official letter sent out but we heard from them via our leaders that we could only convert, leave or be killed. Saturday was our last chance.”

Michael fled on Thursday evening with three other families crammed into one car – travelling to the city of Dohuk in the relatively stable Kurdistan region.

Getting through the Kurdish checkpoint meant a three-hour agonising wait. “It was not easy, they made it hard for us,” he said.

“My family are very sad and crying – we left our land and everything we have so we won’t be killed.”

At the same time, Christians had their homes marked in red and then confiscated.

Michael is now staying with relatives, but he doesn’t know for how long he and his family can remain there or what they will do in the future.

Louis Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch in Baghdad, warned on Thursday that this “discrimination” will lead to the “elimination of the possibility of coexistence between majorities and minorities”.

“Should this direction continue to be pursued, Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe.”

On Saturday, the prime minister of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, released a statement calling on the international community to provide aid to those forced to flee, and asking the people of the Kurdistan Region to help the families.

He said that Christian families had come to Kurdistan “without being allowed to take any of their belongings”.

Kurdish checkpoints are currently clogged with internally displaced persons (IDPs) trying to escape Iraq’s restive regions. More than 500,000 IDPs have arrived since the fall of Mosul, adding to over 200,000 Syrian refugees already sheltering there.

Mosul has long been an important centre for Christian communities. Not far from the city are the historic monasteries of St Matthew and St Elijah’s. But hard times have meant that many Christians have fled Iraq in the years preceding the US-led invasion and in the years afterwards, in the wake of increasing sectarian violence.

In 2010, an attack on the Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad killed 58, speeding up the exodus both internally and externally. Many Christians, who at that time fled north, now find themselves under the control of the Islamic State group and are on the move again.

Nadir (not his real name due to security issues) is in late middle age with grown up children. He is part of the Syriac Orthodox church. He studied abroad and has had a long professional career in Mosul. He left with his wife before the ultimatum was issued and now sits in his son’s home in a partly finished complex of houses, a few kilometres outside the Kurdish capital, Erbil.

Evening falls as the power fails. We sit in the dark as he takes stock of the situation. “I am the first man … [to be against] migration from Iraq, but now there is an idea accumulating in my mind to leave,” he says, reflecting the feelings of many Christians to whom Al Jazeera spoke. “Everyone is leaving Iraq.”

It is not only Christians that are feeling the force of the militants rule, members of other minority groups such as Turkmen, Yazidis and Shabaks have also been captured or killed as the fighting spreads. Shia Muslims remain especially vulnerable to attacks by the Islamic State group.

Air strikes carried out by the Iraqi security forces are adding to the woes of people trapped in fighting zones, many also without reliable water or electricity.

The Kurdish armed forces (Peshmerga) have moved into previously disputed areas of northern Iraq – but in many towns the front lines are not far away.

One Christian resident of Qaragosh, which is under Peshmerga control but saw heavy fighting at the end of June, describes the atmosphere in the town as “a scary kind of safety”.

Qaragosh is 30km from Mosul and  Archbishop Petros from Mosul’s Catholic Syrian church, speaking from Qaragosh, told Al Jazeera that between 200-250 families have arrived in the town since the Islamic State’s decree was announced on Thursday. Another resident put the figure as high as 400 families.

“What [Islamic State] is doing in Mosul is not just against Iraqis, it is against all human beings,” he said via phone, palpably distressed. “We do not need just letters published to say they are sorry and we are against this or that. This is the time to come to Iraq to stop this – the world should stop this.”

“[The Islamic State group] seems intent on wiping out all traces of minority groups from areas it now controls in Iraq,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch, in a statement released on Saturday.

“No matter how hard its leaders and fighters try to justify these heinous acts as religious devotion, they amount to nothing less than a reign of terror.”

A prominent Muslim leader could not agree more. Sheikh Khalid Al Mulla, head of the Iraqi Scholars Association in the south of the country, in a recent interview, condemned the displacement of Christians from Mosul and accused the Islamic State of “falsely wearing the dress of Islam to displace the Christian brothers who live with us for thousands of years”.

“Religious scholars should take responsibility in upholding the true voice of Islam,”  he said.

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/last-remaining-christians-flee-iraq-mosul-201472118235739663.html

Bartalla residents - a mix of Shabaks and Christians who rely on Peshmerga

IRAQ’S CHRISTIANS SEEK REFUGE WITH KURDS

Armed Kurds are winning favour by protecting religious minorities.

Mohammed A Salih – 26 June 2014

Alqosh, Iraq – The world appears serene and tranquil when looking out from the mesmerising 1,400-year-old Rabban Hormizd Monastery here in the heart of the vast rocky plains of Nineveh in northern Iraq.

This is a land where Christianity once thrived. And it has survived numerous bloody forays by generations of kings and rulers.

The calm here seems a world away from Mosul, just 50km to the south, a city now taken over by the al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

What has kept Alqosh safe from the mayhem is the presence of the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) – the Peshmerga.

Yusef and his wife have first-hand experience of how the situation here might develop should the jihadists take over.  The newlyweds were among hundreds of Christians who fled Mosul after ISIL and other Sunni fighters stormed the city.  “There is no life in Mosul,” said Yusef, visibly shaken. “ISIL might kidnap us, kill us, take away our women.  “But here, we feel safe,” he said, sitting in a small living room adorned with pictures of the late Pope John Paul II.

The recent takeover of Mosul – and of large parts of northern and central Iraq – has set in motion dynamics that have broadened and deepened Kurdish control in the Nineveh plains and other northern areas.

This might even end up bolstering prospects of Kurdish independence, as their control appears – for the time being, at least – largely unchallenged.

The oil-rich, fertile and historic plains of northern and eastern Nineveh have a population of around half a million. Most are Christians, followers of the ancient Mesopotamian Yazidi faith and members of the ethno-religious Shabak community.

The Kurdish Peshmerga has been present here since the US-led invasion in 2003 and is now the force that many residents look to for protection against armed groups.

ISIL forces have launched small-scale attacks on certain targets in Nineveh plains including an attack on Wednesday on Christian-dominated district of Hamdaniya, east of Mosul. But, according to Halgurd Hikmat, a spokesman for the KRG ministry of Peshmerga affairs, the Peshmerga repulsed the attack and prevented ISIL forces from making any avdances.

In recent weeks, the Peshmerga expanded its reach by maintaining control of a key strategic area around Rabia, including a major border crossing between Iraq and Syria.

The KRG has also dispatched thousands more troops to confront any ISIL push towards the Nineveh plains, and has, in effect, consolidated its de-facto grip on the territory.

Such actions in the past would have drawn significant local opposition. There have been tensions between the KRG and segements of the local population over the past decade as Kurds have tried to solidify their control over the Nineveh plains.

Most parts of the disputed territories have suffered from negligence by the Baghdad and Kurdish governments due to their unclear administrative status. Many roads and buildings here appear in need of urgent repair.

But the deadly mix of the rise of ISIL and the ongoing sectarian war between Sunni armed groups and the Shia-dominated Iraqi army has generated unprecedented support for the Peshmerga among vulnerable religious minorities here out of pragmatic considerations.

Kurds, aspiring to build an independent state, welcome the change of heart, having long desired to include the Nineveh plains in such a state.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s President Massoud Barzani has repeatedly said that he regards independence a “natural right” of Kurds – and, as the rest of Iraq descends into even greater carnage, Kurds might be tempted more than ever to push for their independence.

The Nineveh plains have been among a wide swathe of disputed territory, control of which has been contested by both officials in Baghdad and the KRG.

The Peshmerga is now also in control of other disputed areas in Kirkuk, Salahaddin and Diyala

Father Jebrail Gorgis Toma is in charge of Alqosh’s 19th-century Virgin Mary Monastery, which hosts dozens of Christian refugees from Mosul.

The eloquent, Vatican-educated priest is worried about the fate of the ancient community here.

“We are fed up with the conditions in other parts of the country,” he said. “But Kurdistan has proven itself in terms of stability, economic development and democratic measures.”

Kurdistan hosts tens of thousands of Christians, many of whom have fled the violence across the country in the past decade. Some  Christians living in Kurdish controlled areas say they freely practise their religion, with their own schools and media outlets.  Their children can also learn the ancient Syriac language, a derivative of Aramaic, still spoken by local Christians here.

Politically, however, the community has been divided.

Some Christian groups are close to the KRG and its biggest party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) – led by Barzani.

Others criticise KDP’s alleged involvement in Christian affairs and either favour greater autonomy for Christians in Nineveh or hold outright pro-Baghdad tendencies.

For many here, it is not a matter of idealism and ensuring ideal outcomes, but making the most of the difficult conditions they grapple with. A number of residents interviewed by Al Jazeera say they feel caught up in a desperate situation and have little option but opting for the best possible choice available to them under the current circumstances.

Yet, in the face of the recent transformative events on the ground, even the critics of the Kurds among the Christian community seem to have few misgivings about where the future lies for them – at least in the short term.

“People fear the ISIL,” said Yunadem Kanna, head of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), a party that enjoys considerable support among religious minorities. “We, as a community, are under threat. It’s the duty of the Peshmerga to protect the population in the area.”

Kanna believes the areas populated by religious minorities in Nineveh should be allowed to form their own province, and then decide to whether join the Kurdish region or remain autonomous.

The Iraqi government agreed this year to form such a province, but municipal arrangements have yet to change.

Kanna said his party had been marginalised in Kurdistan and was not given a share in the newly-formed KRG cabinet.  But, he believes in light of the turmoil in the country and with a genuine partnership guaranteed, most Christians in Nineveh might well choose to become part of the Kurdish region.

Nearly 50km south of Alqosh, a string of villages and towns populated largely by the Shabak community stretches through the dusty plains. The majority of Shabaks identify as Shia Muslims and the rest adhere to Sunni Islam.

They speak a distinct language understood to have a close affinity with certain Kurdish dialects – and have been no strangers to the violence that has blighted the area. An April attack on a village claimed the lives of seven Shabaks.

Terrified by ISIL’s reputation for brutality, 70-year-old Saadoun moved with his family of 10 to a small settlement near the rundown town of Bartalla, just 20km east of Mosul.

He lost a son to an attack by an armed group on a family funeral in 2005.  “Our future is in God’s hands,” said Saadoun, a Shia Shabak. “Shia here are afraid of the ISIL.”

Around 500 other Shabak families have sought refuge in the mixed Shabak-Christian district of Bartalla, say local authorities.

The mayor of Bartalla, also a Shabak, says his town is facing a crisis as more people pour in, making the provision of public services highly difficult.

Cut off from Mosul, a 20-minute drive away where the ISIL flag flies high, his administration is now increasingly reliant on the KRG. And he does not hesitate to say joining Kurdistan is the best option for his district.

“We are a threatened people,” said Mayor Ali Mohammed Fathi. “Without Peshmerga forces, our future as Shabaks and Christians here will be genocide.”

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/iraq-christians-seek-refuge-with-kurds-2014624867119947.html

Peshmerga checkpoint

URGENT: ISIL DESTROYS THE VIRGIN MARY CHURCH IN MOSUL

July 26, 2014 – By Abdelhak Mamoun

www.iraqinews.com

Mosul: On Saturday, the Ministry of Human Rights announced that the elements of the terrorist organization of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant blew up the Virgin Mary Church in Mosul.

The Ministry said, in a statement received by IraqiNews.com, that “today the terrorist elements of ISIL blew up the Virgin Mary church located in the city of Mosul, with a number of improvised explosive devices.”

On July18, 2014, the Niveneh Council member, Zuhair al-Chalabi said that the leader of the organization of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave Christians an ultimatum to leave the province, convert to Islam or be killed, while he directed his followers to loot the property and possessions of fleeing Christians.

On June 20, 2014, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq revealed that the organization of ISIL imposed the Jizya tribute to Christian citizens in Mosul, in an attempt to pressure them to convert to Islam or expel them from the city, calling on the government and the international community to put an end to that.

ISIL has been rampaging through Iraq, destroying world-famous antiquities and holy sites of Shia Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and any other group they oppose as reported extensively by IraqiNews.com.

Church-burned-in-mosul-16_06_2014

CHRISTIANS IN MOSUL FLEE AFTER ISIS’ DEADLINE EXPIRES

July 19, 2014 – By Abdelhak Mamoun

www.iraqinews.com

Mosul (IraqiNews.com) The New York Times revealed on Saturday that the Christian population of Mosul fled only with their clothes after the deadline of 24 hours that was decreed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to leave the province, convert to Islam, pay Jizya or be killed,” adding that “the organization of ISIL gave, earlier, Christians the choice, either to join Islam or pay tribute.” The tribute is a tax known as the Jizya. This announcement was reported by IraqiNews.com on Friday.

The newspaper said in a report today that “men, women and children rushed towards the vehicles of their neighbors, and some were forced to ride bicycles to reach outside of the city, while others boarded taxis,” indicating that “the Christians fleeing Mosul did not take anything with them more than their clothes.”

The newspaper pointed out that “it was a true end to the Christians in the city on Friday, the elements of ISIL appeared in a video on YouTube while they demolish the tomb of the prophet Jonah in Nineveh, which was confirmed by Duraid Hikmat, a researcher and expert on minorities who fled a few weeks ago to the city of Kosh. Another video also shows the insurgents drop the highest Cross Cathedral of St. Ephraim in Mosul and the raising of the black flag of ISIL, in addition the gunmen destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary.”

On Friday, the Niveneh Council member, Zuhair al-Chalabi said that the leader of the organization of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave Christians till Saturday to leave the province or they will be killed, while he pointed to his followers to loot their property and possessions.

Today the Secretariat General of the holy Shia shrine of Imam Abbas announced preparations to host Christian families who were displaced from their houses in Nineveh province by ISIL terrorists: Displaced Christians from Mosul welcomed by Imam Abbas Holy Shrine

On June 20, 2014, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq revealed that the organization of ISIL imposed the Jizya tribute to Christian citizens in Mosul, in an attempt to pressure them and expelled them from the city, calling on the government and the international community to put an end to that.

DISPLACED CHRISTIANS FROM MOSUL WELCOMED BY IMAM ABBAS HOLY SHRINE

July 19, 2014 – By Ahmed Hussein

Baghdad:  The Secretariat General of the holy shrine of Imam Abbas announced preparations to host the Christian families who were displaced from their houses in Nineveh province.

Many Christian families were forced to depart their houses under gun point by the terrorists who threatened to kill them if they did not convert to the Islam as reported in detail by IraqiNews.com

The terrorists affiliated with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant granted the Christians in Mosul a duration of three days to convert to Islam, face death, pay an extortionate Jizya tribute or leave and have their property confiscated as reported on Friday by IraqiNews.com.

Iraqi holding Cross and Quran in Mar Girgis Church in Baghdad

2000 YEARS OF CHRISTIAN HISTORY IN IRAQ MAY END – IRAQI CHALDEAN CHURCH

July 10, 2014 –  By Abdelhak Mamoun

The Chaldean Church in Iraq warned of a possible “end of Christian history” in Iraq, which is due to more than 2,000 years, if the current situation did not change, indicating that the presence of its followers in the country has become “symbolic” because of the continuing migration to the outside as a result of the violence that affect them.

The Chaldean Patriarch in Iraq and the world, Saint Louis Raphael first Sako said during his visit to Brussels accompanied by two bishops in an effort to ask for the protection of the European Union for their followers. According to a report by Reuters and followed by IraqiNews.com, that “the war and sectarian conflict caused the shrinking number of Christians in Iraq from more than a million and a half before the U.S. invasion of the country in 2003, to less than 400 thousand now, “adding that” those Christians who remained in Iraq started the migration to Turkey, Lebanon and European countries to escape the deteriorating security situation.”

The Chaldean Patriarch in Iraq and the world expected, that “the coming days will be very bad,” noting that “the Christian presence in Iraq would be symbolic if the current situation didn’t change despite that the history of Christians is coming back for more than 2,000 years. “

For his part, the Bishop of the Chaldean Church in Kirkuk, Joseph Marquis said that “hundreds of Christians are leaving Kirkuk daily, although it is safer for them from Mosul.”

The Christians in Iraq, especially in Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk and Basra, exposed to violence since 2003, including the incident of the kidnapping and the killing of the bishop of the Chaldean Catholic, Paulos Faraj Rahho in March 2008.

The most notably was the incident of storming the Church of Our Lady of Deliverance by gunmen belonging to al-Qaeda in 2010 and the burning of churches, monasteries and targeted raping of Christian women as reported by IraqiNews.com.

Prophet Jonah - Grave Destroyed

ISIL DUG UP GRAVE OF PROPHET YOUNIS (BIBLICAL JONAH) IN MOSUL

www.iraqinews.com

Zuhair al Chalabi

Mosul (IraqiNews.com) On Friday a local Nineveh official, Zuhair al-Chalabi said that there is information that almost certainly confirms that members of the organization of the Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant dug up the grave of the Prophet Younis in the east of Mosul.

Al-Chalabi said in an interview for IraqiNews.com, that “The elements of ISIL controlled the mosque of the Prophet Younis in Mosul since they invaded the city. It is still held by them until now,” pointing out that “elements of ISIL engaged in the process of tampering with the contents of the Mosque.”

Al-Chalabi added that “there is almost certain information stating the fact that the elements of ISIL dug up the grave of the Prophet Younis.”

In just one day, ISIL members committed a series of horrific crimes which illustrate their hostile nature, said Iraqi police in Ninawa spokesman Maj. Ahmed al-Obaidi.

“They torched 11 churches and monasteries out of 35 scattered across the city of Mosul, and hours later destroyed statues of poets, literary and historical figures of which Mosul has long been proud,” he said.

Three Sunni clerics were killed at the hands of ISIL gunmen in different parts of Mosul, he added.

The clerics, named Khattab Hassan, 43, Riyadh al-Wandi, 39, and Abdul Ghafoor Salman, 48, had called on local residents to reject the ISIL and had refused to leave the city, al-Obaidi said.

The gunmen then demolished the historic grave of the prophet Yunus (Jonah) and the shrine of prophet Shayth (Seth), revered by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, which are located inside centuries-old mosques, he said.

ISIL elements have committed numerous crimes in Mosul in addition to the attacks on places of worship, setting fire to government buildings and violating the civil liberties of city residents, al-Obaidi said.

Father Sabah Boutros of St. George’s Church in Baghdad said to IraqiNews.com that the repercussions of these crimes will not affect the brotherly ties between the Muslims and Christians of Nineveh

“We have lived with our Muslim brothers in Nineveh for centuries in peace and harmony and never exchanged violence on any day,” Boutros said. “On the contrary, our joys were mutual, and so were our griefs.”

Boutros said the recent attacks on religious sites and properties do not represent Muslims and only represent the ISIL “as it launches its terrorist attacks on all without exception”.

On one of the two most prominent mounds of Nineveh ruins, rises the Mosque (an Nestorian-Assyrian Church before) of prophet Younis “Biblical Jonah”, the son of Amittai, from the 8th century BC which is believed to be the burial place of him, and where King Esarhaddon had once built a palace.

Younis Mosque (Previously Assyrian Church) of Prophet Jonah

DESTRUCTION OF YONUS SHRINE (BIBLICAL JONAH) PROTESTED BY MOSUL RESIDENTS. PROTEST LEADERS FLOGGED BY ISIL

July 25, 2014 – By Abdelhak Mamoun

www.iraqinews.com

Mosul: The Imam of Arahma mosque in Mosul, Sheikh Riad Wasif Ghurairy, said that the terrorist gangs from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant flogged 23 young men who lead demonstrators who criticized the bombing of the shrine of the Prophet Yunus which IraqiNews.com reported yesterday.

Ghurairy said in an interview with IraqiNews.com that “after the crime of exploding the shrine of Prophet Yunus ISIL’s popularity has fallen dramatically and a big demonstration formed after Friday prayers criticizing this action, but the gangs ISIL arrested its leadership and flogged everyone of them a hundred lashes.”

Ghurairy added that “the terrorist gangs of ISIL carried out a strange procedure after Friday prayers. They searched residential buildings in the neighborhood of the Yonus shrine under the pretext that they were looking for government informants who are leaking information and images of ISIL’s crimes.”

Yesterday, the Mosque of Prophet Yunus, Biblical Jonah, was completely destroyed by terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Also, the organization of ISIL had destroyed a number of shrines under the pretext that they represented signs of polytheism according to their extreme interpretation of Sharia Law.

ISIL has been rampaging through Iraq, destroying world-famous antiquities and holy sites of Shia Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and any other group they oppose as reported extensively by IraqiNews.com.

ISIL BLOWS UP SHIA MOSQUE IN MUQDADIYAH, DIYALA

July 15, 2014 – By Hawar Berwani

www.iraqinews.com

Diyala: The terrorist gangs of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant blew up a Shia mosque in Muqdadiyah district (40 km) to the northeast of Baquba city in Diyala province.

Security source reported to IraqiNews.com “The terrorist of the ISIL detonated the explosives they set inside Hujja Shia mosque and destroyed it completely after storming in the Tawakul village at the western outskirts of Muqdadiyah district.”

The source added “The ISIL elements also killed a 75 year old man who fired against their vehicles from his personal gun.”

ISIL LOOTS AND DESTROYS SHIA MOSQUES NEAR KIRKUK

July 17, 2014 – By Abdelhak Mamoun

www.iraqinews.com

 Shia mosque destroyed in Bashir01

Kirkuk: On Thursday, according to a security source and witnesses in the province of Kirkuk, the militants of the organization of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant looted and blew up Shiite mosques and religious shrines in the village of Bashir of Taza, south of the province.

The source said, in an interview for IraqiNews.com, that “The militants of ISIL blew up religious shrines, Shiite mosques and the headquarters of the parties in the village of Bashir (35 km south of Kirkuk), noting that” the bombings did not result in any human infections.”

For his part, a witness said, in an interview for IraqiNews.com, that “the insurgents blew up the Shiite mosques, religious shrines and a number of headquarters of the parties and the Iraqi army in the village of Bashir.”

The organization of ISIL published “a collection of images that emphasize the elements to blow up the Shiite mosques and religious shrines in the village of Bashir Bashir of Taza, south of Kirkuk, inhabited by a majority of Turkmen Shiites.

The militants of ISIL dominated the village of Bashir on June 16, 2014, after violent clashes with armed volunteers from the villagers.

 Shia mosque destroyed in Bashir02

IRAQI CHRISTIAN CHURCH BURNINGS CONFIRMED BY EU DELEGATION

June 16, 2014  – By Amir Abdallah

www.iraqinews.com

Mosul: On Monday a European Union Delegation in Iraq confirmed that ISIL burned several churches in Mosul. They terrorized residents and raped five girls in the east side of the city.

The Iraq Government’s official news channel announced that an “EU delegation in Iraq confirmed that the terrorist elements of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant burned churches completely, as well as terrorized innocent civilians.”

The channel added that “several Christian civilians escaped from ISIL terrorists in Nineveh; they raped five girls in the east side of Mosul.”

The terrorist elements of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant had already detonated a church under construction by improvised explosive devices in the neighborhood of al-Wahda, which is located to the east of Mosul, Nineveh province.

ISIL DESTROYS 14TH CENTURY SHRINE LOCATED WEST OF MOSUL

Imam Yahya Abul Qasim Mosque - Mosul - Umayyad period 640 AD - Architect Utba bin Farqad Al-Salami

July 23, 2014 – By Abdelhak Mamoun

Mosul: According to a security source in Nineveh province the terrorists of the organization of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant looted and then detonated the mosque of Imam Yahya Abu al-Qasim in the area of Achifa, western of Mosul.

The source said in an interview for IraqiNews.com that “the terrorist gunmen of ISIL looted and blew up, this afternoon, the shrine of Imam Yahya Abu al-Qasim with improvised explosive devices on the banks of the Tigris River in the west of Mosul.”

The source, who requested anonymity, added that “the casualties of the event are not known so far.”

ISIL has been rampaging through Iraq, destroying world-famous antiquities and holy sites of Shia Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and any other group they oppose as reported extensively by IraqiNews.com.

 

*(The Imam Yahya Abul Qasim Mosque in Mosul is an Umayyad Mosque that was built by the architect Utba bin Farqad Al-Salami around 640 AD with remarkably elaborate brickwork and a height of 52 meters. Image credit – Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.)

 

ISIL TERRORISTS BURN CENTRAL LIBRARY IN SA’ADIYA

July 15, 2014 – By Hawar Berwani

Diyala: Security official stated that the ISIL terrorists burnt the central library of northeastern Baquba in Diyala.

The source added to IraqiNews.com “The ISIL terrorists stormed into the library in Sa’adiya district of northeastern Baquba to burn about 1650 books inside it and damaging its building.”

 

ISIL BLOW UP MORE HOLY SHRINES IN NINEVEH

July 25, 2014 – By Hawar Berwani

Nineveh: The terrorist gangs of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant blew up on Friday the holy shrine and the mosque of Prophet Seth of central Mosul city. Eyewitnesses mentioned to Iraqi News (IraqiNews.com) “The terrorists set explosives inside the holy shrine and blew it up causing material damage for the tomb.” They added “The tomb, which is located at a popular area in central Mosul, has been closed for months for rehabilitation.” The mosque of the Prophet Seth has been built in 1057. Yesterday, Thursday, the terrorists of the ISIL detonated the holy shrine of Prophet Jonas in Mosul.

Convoy of ISIL scum

3,000 ISIL TERRORISTS TO INVADE IRAQ VIA SAUDI ARABIA

June 23, 2014 – By Hawar Berwani

The security committee of Dhi Qar province revealed that 3000 armed ISIL fighters have gathered on the Saudi border and are planning to enter Iraq through the desert Nasiriyah. The Committee for the Coordination of Security confirmed preparations to thwart the infiltration.

Committee Chairman Jabbar al-Moussawi said in an interview for IraqiNews.com, “the security intelligence has reports that around 3,000 armed ISIL fighters are lining on the Saudi border. They are riding in cars and SUVs and are equipped with modern weapons; they intend to enter the country through the desert Samawah, Nasiriyah,” stressing that “security authorities are implementing precautionary measures to deal with this information to prevent mass infiltration.”

Al-Moussawi said that “the Committee for the Coordination of Security was formed between the local Governments of Muthanna and Dhi Qar, it has taken preparations to thwart any infiltration attempt by militants,” noting that “the Army Air Force is conducting aerial reconnaissance of the areas and pathways that are likely covered by terrorists.”

SLC MP: PARTICIPANTS IN AMMAN CONFERENCE BEHIND EXISTENCE OF ISIL TERRORISTS IN IRAQ

July 21, 2014 – By Ahmed Hussein

Baghdad MP, Hana al-Taie, of the State of Law Coalition stated that the participants in the conference that was held in Amman to topple the political process in Iraq are behind the existence of the ISIL terrorists in Iraq.

Taie stated in a press statement received by IraqiNews.com “The participants in the terrorism conference in Amman made the ISIL terrorists to settle in Iraq and announce its Khilafat,” noting that “The apology of Jordan over hosting the conference is not enough and there must be some actions to prove that it does not support terrorism that targets Iraq by handing over wanted terrorists to Iraq.”

NUSAIYF CALLS ALL TO CRIMINALIZE ARMED GROUPS IN SYRIA

June 10, 2013 – By Ahmed Hussein

Baghdad MP Aliya Nusaiyf of the Hurra Iraqiya Slate called the Arab League to criminalize the armed groups in Syria after proving their conniving with Israel and their using Israeli-made weapons in Qaseer war.

Nusaiyf said “When Qaseer war ended, Israeli-made weapons and military kits were discovered left by the armed groups after fleeing, thus indicates that these extremist groups have no red line in dealing with sides their hands stained with Arab blood.”

“The dealing of these groups which claim to be Muslim with Israel is clear evidence that they do not believe in the Israel’s danger on the Arab and Islamic nation and they are ready to ally with any side that serves their interests away from the religious, nationalistic and moral considerations,” she stressed.

“The Arab countries should not allow the armed groups to come to power in Syria,” she added calling the AL to criminalize the gunmen in Syria as they represent jeopardy targets the region through their agitating for sectarian strife where the only beneficiary form this strife would be the Zionist entity, “Nusaiyf concluded.

ISIL ADOPTS ISRAELI AGENDA IN IRAQ, SAYS MP

Baghdad (Forat) –MP, Hamdiya al-Husseini, assured that the terrorists affiliated to what is so called the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant are attempting to implement Israeli agendas in Iraq.

Husseini reported in a statement received by Alforat News Agency ”All the Iraqis should cooperate and unite to beat the terrorists who are targeting all the Iraqi components alike.”

”The Takfiri doctrine which the terrorists are spreading in Iraq is just an Israeli agenda, but the religious authorities in Iraq and the unity that brings Iraqis together will make the lands of Iraq as the graveyard which will bury all the terrorists,” she concluded.

Exclamation Point

BRITISH PAPER REVEALS LINKS BETWEEN ISIL, AL MUHAJIROUN AND BRITISH GOVERNMENT

By Shabana Syed on July 2, 2014

“Sooner or later, a society of sheep will create a government of wolves” ~ Bertrand de Jouvenel

Western countries are on red alert after reports that over a thousand ‘Islamic jihadists’ many from Britain and US have flown out to join the terrorist group ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’ (ISIL) and will be returning home to inflict terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile a report in Britain’s Daily Mail, which has a history of equating Muslims with terrorism, has unwittingly highlighted the link between British government’s contradictory policies and its connection with ISIL terrorists.

In a daily mail report by David Jones titled ‘How Cardiff became a city where families are torn between East and West – and why two clever sons grew up to  be terrorists’ Jones investigates the boy’s featured in the ISIL video, sitting with guns begging other Muslims to join the terrorist group.

In the report the father of two boys who are of British Yemeni descent expressed his disbelief as to how his 20-year-old son Nasser Muthana, who was going to become a doctor is featured in an ISIL video pleading with Muslims to travel to Iraq and Syria and join them.

Ahmed Muthana believes his son was brainwashed pointing to fanatics ‘men with long beards’. He said that once the boys are ensnared they are then groomed with stories of injustice against Sunni Muslims by Shias, the West and Assad’s regime.

He also told the reporter: “Each Friday, they materialise uninvited outside one of Cardiff’s 12 mosques, distributing leaflets to young Muslim boys. Usually they are invitations to a lecture or talk, with the enticement of free food.”

According to the report one of the Muthana brothers’ friends said the recruiters also directed Muslim youths to internet sites depicting graphically brutal acts against the Sunnis, and asked: ‘Are you going to stand by and let them do this to our people?’

Another 18 year old featured on ISIL video was Reeyad Khan whose friend also revealed ‘he and the brothers were targeted by a mysterious group of Midlands-based ISIS recruiters, who frequently travel to Cardiff and show laptop videos of Muslims being slaughtered in battle’.

These men are said by local Muslim youths to be followers of Al-Muhajiroun, the so called jihadists who keep resurfacing using different names.

This is the same Al Muhajiroun that influenced the two Muslim converts who later went out to hack a British soldier to death in a busy London street and then as a special favour to Islam stood around covered in blood begging to be filmed so the world can see how Islam is bloodthirsty and barbaric.

The same Al Muhajiroun whose leader Anjum Choudhry who has no religious credentials and is often brought out on cue by the security services to frighten the British public about how Sharia law should be forced on them.

The same Anjum Choudhary who early last year went to Edgware road with thugs with shaved heads, long beards, dressed up in Jilbabs, trainers and sunglasses with placards demanding British Muslims should fight Shia and go to Syria and destroy President Assad’s regime while Choudhry’s goons violently attacked Shia men passing by.

Ahmed Munthana further reveals that the Al Manar mosque where some of these bearded men would hand out leaflets is where in 2012 ‘a Saudi cleric was invited ‘Mohammed al-Arifi, the ‘rock star’ Saudi hate-preacher to deliver a lecture there.’

This is the same Saudi cleric Muhammad al Arifi who had stated ‘Israel is not our enemy but the Shias are’ and that the ‘Arab youth should join the Free Syrian Army and as a consolation prize they can have a few hours marriage with Syrian women in order to satisfy their sexual desires which will boost their testosterones to kill more Syrians’.

The father was also baffled as to how his son managed to get enough money to buy his airfare, according to the report “presumably it was paid for by ISIS which is said to be the world’s richest terror group with £1.5 billion in its coffers.”

Mr Kalantar whose son Ali also has left to join ISIL expressed his anger at the authorities. “He accuses the police of failing to properly investigate the religious leader; the security services of failing to intercept his son’s party before they reached Syria; and the Government of turning a blind eye to the ISIS recruitment drive.”

Meanwhile Prime Minister David Cameron put Britain on red alert about the threat of ISIL fighters returning home after reports emerged that over 500 hundred British Muslims had gone to Syria, many joining ISIL.

It didn’t help when a letter to The Times by Brigadier General Abdulellah al-Basheer of the Free Syrian Army stated that members of the al-Qaeda-linked ISIL, many from UK, are involved in brutal acts against the Syrian people. He also noted that the ISIL militants are responsible for “beheadings, crucifixions, beatings, murders and outdated methods of treating women” in the Arab country.

Wait a minute isn’t this what happens in Saudi Arabia “beatings, murders and outdated methods of treating women”?

Who are the ISIL is explained aptly by Pepe Escobar in his article ‘Burn, Men in Black, burn’

he writes: “Let’s cut to the chase. As in chasing that Zara outdoor summer collection, complete with state of the art assault rifles, brand new white Nike sneakers and brand new, unlimited mileage white Toyotas crossing the Syrian-Iraqi desert; the Badass Jihadis in Black.”

As the world looks on horrified at hordes of ‘Islamic jihadists’ emerging from American land cruisers, jeeps, partly hooded faces, wearing sunglasses, and carrying weaponry which can be traced back to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.

Nickolay Mladenov, the special representative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for Iraq, said. “In terms of financing and the flow of vehicles and weapons that ISIL possesses, clearly the organization is quite well-funded,”

Jordanian officials also revealed to the American news website WorldNet Daily that US military instructors trained Takfiri militants of the ISIL at a secret base in Jordan in 2012.

It is common knowledge that ISIL are funded and supported by Saudi regime, Israel and US. The news that President Obama is asking Congress for a further $500 million for the Syrian rebels has astonished analysts. Dr Kevin Barrett in an article ‘Obama throws gasoline on Mideast Fire’ writes:

“What explains this bizarre, two-faced US policy? In a word: Destabilization…..The destabilization doctrine is set by the Zionist lobby, which dominates US Mideast policy. Israel’s desire, expressed decades ago by Oded Yinon, is to have the countries of the region split up into balkanized sub-units. So the Zionist-driven US creates and runs extremist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL. These groups attack and destabilize Middle Eastern countries….”

In the meantime while the advocates of the new world order stand by and watch their plan unfold American journalist Seymour Hirsch had also expressed in a New Yorker article in 2007 something on the same lines when he stated “that the growth of terrorist groups was in reality a fruition of a complex premeditated plan, years in the making”.

The ‘fruition of a complex premeditated plan, years in the making” can be clearly visualised if we look closely at Britain’s blatant contradictory policies regarding the Syrian conflict and British Muslims.

However first we need to ask the question how were British Muslim youth mobilised to go and fight against other Muslims? Assuming these are the marginalised youth grown up under the war on terror brought up on an unsavoury diet of Islamophobic reports and seen footages of atrocities carried out against Muslims, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Garaib and Guantanamo.

If this is the case the logical question asked is why have these Muslims gone to fight other Muslims instead of those perpetuating these crimes, US and Israel.

Also isn’t it a fact that these Muslims have grown up watching for years the struggle of the Palestinians, kept in an open prison, killed, murdered, tortured; where children as young as 6 have been tortured for throwing stones, killed by snipers randomly, and these crimes are just a tip of the iceberg. Already there is news that Israel is preparing to bomb Gaza again.

Muslims may also be aware even though the media will hush this piece of information that Israel is dismantling Masjid Aqsa the third holiest place for Islam. The Al Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Endowment (Waqf) and Heritage has warned that Israel is targeting the mosque by weakening its foundations through constant digging and excavations in the hope that the Mosque will collapse on its own. Jewish religious texts believe that in order for Israel to become a world power it has to first demolish Al Aqsa purify the area and build a Jewish temple.

Why haven’t the Muslim youth defended Palestine and Al Aqsa but instead have travelled across lands to fight a battle which involves killing Shias and destroying Syria on behalf of the West and Israel who want to not only overthrow Assad’s government but also the Axis of resistance Iran and Hezbollah.?

A simple answer to this question lays with a mentality and a mind-set that has been created by funnelling millions of petro dollars into Wahabi/Salafi mosques and madrassas around the world by the Saudi regime which is linked closely to Israel and has Jewish roots according to Mohammad Sakher, who was put to death for writing a book called ‘Zionist rulers of Saudi Arabia’.

Most of the youth have been brought up and trained in Saudi funded Mosques and madrassas where a Wahabi form of Islam is taught. Abdul Wahab, whose uncle was incidentally an Iraqi Jew called Tjen Shulman, was used by the British to help propagate a new interpretation of Islam that would sanction murder under the guise of “Jihad”.

To this day Abdul Wahab’s descendants are in charge of Islam’s dictates and fatwas, these dictates discourage jihad against Israel, but encourage jihad against Syria and Iran. Wahabism ferments Sunni Shia hatred, and has ensured that Israel can continue annihilating the Middle East while Muslims are caught up in sectarian warfare.

It is no coincidence that the ISIL want to establish a Caliphate across the Middle East, we can only assume this Caliphate will be Israel friendly and under Israeli dictates and will finally achieve the Zionist’s dream of establishing greater Israel from the Euphrates to the Nile. .

While Zionist’ have infiltrated every sphere of political life in the US controlling America’s policies domestic and foreign, Britain’s politicians aren’t far off as both 90% or Britain’s MP’s are members of the Friends of Israel and as British Prime Minister Cameron proudly declared he is a Zionist.

In the same manner Saudi Arabia an ally of Israel has been allowed to infiltrate by using the ‘Trojan horse’ policy, ensuring that Britain’s main Muslim media outlets, Schools and mosques teach its distorted form of Islam which is Israel friendly and destructive towards Muslims.

As the Daily Mail report indicates if Al Mahijuroun is part of the ISIL recruitment drive and Choudhry is a known stooge used by the Security Services, then all are working for Israel and the Saudi agenda to destroy Syria.

The British government along with other western governments are all part of the advocates of a new world order that is slowly being established through creating terror and fermenting fear, and in the process they have established police states, round the clock surveillance and destroyed civil liberties for all.

The Home Secretary Teresa May has already heightened fears by stating that women are also running to join the terror group and that ISIL ‘terrorists were hours away from London and intent on attacking us’, and as a result we need to revive the snoopers charter that gives security services more power to monitor the internet.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” states Sir Walter Scott but only in the present day case the tangled web that is being woven is Mossad’s motto “By way of deception, thou shalt do war”?

The only saving grace that may have come out of the actions of the ISIL is that maybe they have unwittingly given a wake- up call to all those Sunnis’ who came running to welcome the ISIL when it entered Iraq and to those who went to join it, when the ISIL brutally killed 12 Sunni clerics in Mosul who did not pledge allegiance to the group.

In the same way that many Sunni fighters realised after they had had joined the Free Syrian Army but left to go back and support President Assad after seeing the brutalised killing spree the so called jihadist were inflicting on men women and children. They also went back after they saw how Hezbollah fighters had stepped in to save the Syrian people, Shia Sunni or Christian from being terrorised by the FSA, the Al Nusra Front and the ISIL.

The ISIL has openly exposed that they are working for the proponents of the new world order led by Israel and the only way to overcome their subversive plots is for Shias and Sunnis to unite and work with western groups fighting the same battle.

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