Washington -- International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that hundreds of Christian families are fleeing from the Iraqi town of Mosul following the murder of eight Christians in the past two weeks.
Unknown assailants killed the father and two brothers of Father Mazin Ishoa. Father Ishoa, a priest of a Syriac Catholic church, had himself been kidnapped in 2007 and released upon payment of ransom.
According to ICC sources in Iraq, the killings are related to the upcoming general election on March 7. Kurdish and Arab political parties are vying to win the election in Mosul. Christian minorities are caught in the political struggle between the two parties.
This is the largest exodus of Christians from Mosul since October 2008 when more than 15,000 Christians fled the city following the killing of 15 Christians.
Christians are fleeing to the towns of Dohuk, Qaraqosh, and Ankawa. The majority of Christians left in Mosul are those who cannot afford to leave the city such as the poor, the elderly and the handicapped.
"The ChaldoAssyrians in Mosul are yet again systematically marked for death and the security forces have failed to protect them. We demand international attention to this brutal situation. Why are the international human rights organizations silent? Why are people of faith silent? The Assyrian civilization which will celebrate its 6760th year on April 1st is on the verge of extinction and the world must come together to protect it," said Juliana Taimoorazy in an interview with ICC. Juliana is the president of Iraqi Christian Relief Council.
Iraqi Christians have been victims of violent attacks by Islamic extremists and criminal gangs who are bent on driving them out of the country. Hundreds of Christians have been killed and more than half of an estimated 1.2 million Iraqi Christians have been forced to leave their homes since 2003.
ICC's Jonathan Racho said, "We condemn in the strongest terms the latest murder of Christians in Mosul. Despite the killing of hundreds of Iraqi Christians and the flight of half of an of Iraqi Christian population, the international community has not yet realized the full magnitude of the systematic eradication of Christians in Iraq. We urge the Iraqi government, the coalition forces and the international community at large to save the Iraqi Christians from extinction."
International Christian Concern