(AINA) -- Assyrians in Germany and the Netherlands held demonstrations today against the Islamic State (ISIS), which captured the city of Mosul, Iraq on June 10 and began a systematic persecution of Assyrians, Shiites, Yazidis and Shabak -- all non-Sunni groups.
Hundreds of Assyrians gathered at the Hague to show support for Assyrians in Mosul, who have been completely driven out of the city and their churches destroyed or occupied by ISIS. In Cologne, Germany, hundreds of Assyrians held a similar demonstration.
The Assyria Council of Europe issued the following statement at the demonstration at The Hague:
Today we have gathered together here in The Hague in order to protest against the situation currently facing the indigenous Assyrian Christians (including Chaldeans and Syriacs) in Iraq and Syria, who have fallen under the ruthless control of the Islamic State (IS).
Last Friday the IS delivered an ultimatum to the Assyrians of Mosul in Iraq, requiring them to either convert Islam, pay the Jizya (a medieval extortion tax levied upon non-Muslims), leave the city, or else render themselves fair game to be murdered. The Assyrians are indigenous to the city and its surrounding region, and have inhabited it since both pre-Islamic and pre-Christian times. Today, none of them remain in Mosul.
Additionally, their churches have been desecrated, Muslim shrines have been destroyed, and the houses of all Christians and Shiites in the city have been clearly marked. They have now all been confiscated by the IS.
The same ultimatum was delivered to Christians in the Syrian towns of Raqqah, Tabqah and Deir al-Zor this February, where the IS has confiscated and destroyed churches, forcing Christian worship into the shadows of secrecy, as well as publicly murdering and crucifying Christians. Those few who remain are now paying the Jizyah in gold. Such blatant persecution has not occurred since the brutal regimes of certain Islamic caliphates during the Middle Ages.
We are therefore asking the international community, the United Nations, and the Dutch Government to stand up and demand an end to the killing and persecution of the Assyrians and other indigenous Christians in Iraq and Syria.
We are asking the international community to protect the Assyrians:
- As they did in the 1991 for the Kurds in Iraq after the Anfal Campaign,
- As they did in 1993 for Bosnian Muslims escaping genocide,
- As they did for Albanians in Kosovo in 1999,
- As they did for the oppressed South Sudanese in 2011,
- As they did for the refugees in Mali (Africa) only last year.
We are asking a safe haven in Iraq for the Assyrians in the Nineveh province, in order to protect them from the ensuing genocide being perpetrated against them. Assyrians are a stateless ethnic group and have no country of their own to go to in order to seek safety and refuge.
We are also asking the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to stop occupying Assyrian lands in the Nineveh province, as well as to stop torturing and oppressing the Assyrians on their own lands in Iraq, including the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
We, furthermore, demand that Iraqi and Kurdish authorities stop regarding the Assyrians as a religious minority. They are the oldest inhabitants of Iraq and, as such, the Assyrians should have the same rights enjoyed by the Kurds and others in the country.