Just one week ago, reports began to surface that residents of Mosul, Iraq – a town captured by the terrorist jihadi group Islamic State (formerly Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS) – had returned to normal life and were even happier with the jihadist leadership than the Iraqi government. Reports this week indicate otherwise.
According to outlets like NBC and Vice, life in Mosul had returned to a relative calm, and ISIS’s ability to provide water and electricity was winning over the Sunni population of the city. Also under their control were the food and necessary goods of the city, as Mosul is fully controlled and surrounded by the terrorist group. In a report Monday, the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) notes that ISIS has begun using its rationing system against Christians and Shiites, denying them basic needs.
Their report, based on an Arabic report in the outlet Ankawa, claims that government workers in the city were explicitly told not to give rations to Christians and Shiites. One worker in particular told the outlet that he “was warned that if he gives rations to Christians and Shiites he will be charged and prosecuted according to sharia law.”
ISIS has committed violent acts against Christians in Mosul before, particularly attacking and destroying the tomb of the prophet Jonah. It has also begun converting Christian areas of prayer into Muslim properties. AINA reports that the cross above the St. Ephrem Cathedral in Mosul has been removed, with photos showing that the cross is no longer visible on top of the cathedral’s dome. St. Ephrem Cathedral is the seat of Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese in Mosul.
Christians have fled Mosul in droves, attempting to reach Kurdish territory, where they are accepted, or pass through the country’s borders to other areas. One factor that may be triggering the denial of rations – which would essentially starve Christians to death – is the fact that Christians who fled are returning to Mosul. A report from Charisma News notes that many who fled the city have decided to return, finding no other suitable refuge. An organization working with Christians in Iraq tells the news outlet that, in speaking to Christian families, “some families mentioned it is better to die at home than staying on streets.”