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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Australian Iraqi Christians stage protest against religious persecution in their homeland by ISIS


Thousands of Christians from Australia's Iraqi community have staged a protest in Sydney against religious persecution in their homeland by Islamist militants.

In the past year, the militants have seized control of a growing number of Iraqi cities and towns, including the mostly Sunni city of Fallujah in western Anbar province and more recently the strategic northern city of Mosul.

Protesters fear Iraq's dwindling Christian population, which once numbered in the millions, is under threat of disappearing forever.

Protest organisers told a crowd of up to 5,000 in Sydney that the insurgents were waging a campaign of terror against their Christian compatriots in Iraq, killing and kidnapping those who refuse to convert to Islam or leave the country altogether.
In recent months they say thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled their homes and many have been murdered, raped, kidnapped and robbed.

In areas under control of the militants, Christian homes have been marked with the Arabic letter "noon" - or N - which represents "Nazarene", a term meaning Christian in Arabic.
Protest organiser Neneveh Yakoup said the militants had destroyed or occupied scores of Christian buildings and institutions in Mosul in the two months since its takeover.
"We have already seen the destruction of our heritage... 1,800 churches razed to the ground," she said.

"[There have been] tombs of biblical figures destroyed, ancient monuments levelled, the history of the entire region gone. The people gone. What will be left? Where will we go?"

Community leader Samir Yousif urged Australia and other foreign governments to do more to stop the spread of militant Islam in Iraq and protect Iraqi Christians.

Christians in Iraq and across the Middle East have faced centuries of persecution.

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