Lebanese TV station LBCI is adding the Arabic letter “N” to its name in solidarity with Iraqi Christians, who are being persecuted for their faith by the jihadist terror group Islamic State. Supporters of Christians on social media adopted the Arabic “N” as a symbol after Islamic State terrorists used it to mark the homes of Christians in Mosul.
According to Lebanon’s Daily Star, the campaign began this week with anchor Dima Sadeq appearing on television wearing a shirt with the Arabic N on it and giving a monologue explaining the network’s support for Iraqi Christians (below, the only version of the remarks uploaded to YouTube, unfortunately without subtitles):
“We are all Noon,” Sadeq says, according to the Daily Star. “Noon” is the Arabic pronunciation of “N,” used by Islamic State to label the homes of “Nazarenes” for looting and demolishing in Mosul. “We are all targets to be pointed at with a finger or a sword because we’re different, whether in terms of sex, religion or color of our skin,” she says. Sadeq also used her time on air to attack Israel, despite expressing solidarity with the Christians in Mosul: “We are all targets of murder in this insane era. The era of radicals, dictatorships and Israel’s hatred.”
“Afflicted with occupation and sectarianism,” she concludes, “we will not allow the walls [of occupation and sectarianism] to be the place where letters of forced immigration are drawn,” referring to the painting of the letter on Christian homes to force them out.
Since its use in Mosul, the Noon has become a symbol of resistance against radical Islam, both in Iraq and internationally via social media. Moderate Muslims in Iraqi communities have taken to supporting their Christian neighbors, and Sadeq’s stunt, BBC reports, was inspired by an Iraqi Sunni Muslim journalist. Dalia al-Aqidi wore a cross on air this month to support Iraq’s Christian community. News outlet Naharnet reports that al-Aqidi had to explain to viewers that she had not converted: “I am not an apostate, but I am not with those killing Christians in my name… we called for wearing the cross to express our rage over and our rejection of these oppressive approaches.” She added that she sees herself as an Iraqi first, Sunni Muslim second.
The Islamic State has been unrelenting in its campaign against Christians. All Christian institutions in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, have been either destroyed or occupied by Islamic State jihadists. Christians fleeing the city say they were told they had ten hours to leave the city forever and were not allowed to take any belongings. Many fled to Kurdish-controlled cities like Erbil, which is known for its hospitality to Christians.