French Christians, Including 100 MPs, Rally for Christians in Iraq
A large crowd of Christians and supporters gathered in front of the French Parliament building yesterday to express support for the native Christian Assyrian communities of Iraq, currently under siege by the Sunni jihadist group Islamic State. Joining them were 100 members of the French Parliament.
The crowd gathered with large signs with the Arabic letter "N" written on them-- the letter Islamic State (formerly ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) spray-paints on Christian homes and businesses to mark them as "Nasrani," Arabic for Nazarene, homes. According to the Assyrian International News Agency, the group organized to bring awareness of the situation in Iraq to French people, currently struggling against Islamist elements within their own country. Protests against Israel's ground operation in Gaza have resulted in looting of Jewish businesses and extreme anti-Semitic violence.
In addition to the demonstration on Wednesday, about 100 individuals organized in Paris on Tuesday to call attention to the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Iraq, particularly in its second-largest city, Mosul, where Christians were told to evacuate, convert, pay an infidel's tax (jizya), or accept being killed.
Supporters of the Christian population of Iraq in France posted images of the rally on Twitter, where a large group can be seen holding signs with the Arabic "N" emblazoned on them and one large banner reading: "Look at Iraq -- A People Perish Before Your Eyes."
The brutality of the ISIS takeover of northern Iraq has prompted many to condemn them, even a minority of Muslims that refused to be characterized by the actions of the terrorist group. On Twitter, the hashtag #No2ISIS has become a haven for Muslims frustrated that Muslim officials and groups have not been more vocal in their condemnation of ISIS. The International Union of Muslim Scholars, meanwhile, issued a statement this week condemning ISIS and distancing their religion from the actions of the group.