isis tikrit reutersANF – BRUSSELS 25.07.2014

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) has issued a statement condemning the savagery and threats of ISIS that have led to minority groups such as Christians and Yezidi and Shabak Kurds fleeing the city of Mosul in northern Iraq and taking refuge in South Kurdistan.

The statement said: “ancient peoples, cultures and faiths are being driven out of their homeland.”
In the statement issued by the KNK Executive Council, the oppression of minority ethnic and faith groups in Mosul was condemned and the silence of the West emphasised.

The statement said: “Just as with the Armenian Genocide of 1915, the US and Europe is not seeing or reacting to what is going on.”

The city of Mosul used to be home to nearly 200,000 Christians, but now only a handful remain.

Only last Sunday the Pope prayed for the Christians of Iraq.

The Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, Louis Sako, said ISIS had been hunting Christians, having painted the letter ‘N’ for ‘Nazara’ (Christian) on Christian houses in Mosul. He called on the international community, first and foremost the Islamic world, to take action.

Martin Lessenthin from the International Society of Human Rights compared the current tragedy in Mosul to the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and said they were grateful to the Kurds and to Jordan for protecting fleeing Christians.

Jonadam Kanna, a Christian parliamentarian in Baghdad, said ISIS was carrying out “ethnic cleansing”, adding that he was concerned similar attacks might occur in Lebanon, that has the largest Christian population in the region.

Human Rights Watch published a report on 19 July in which it said ISIS was killing, kidnapping, and threatening religious and ethnic minorities in and around Mosul, and that since capturing the city on June 10, it had seized at least 200 Turkmen, Shabaks, and Yazidis, killed at least 11 of them, and ordered all Christians to convert to Islam, pay “tribute” money, or leave Mosul by July 19. It is estimated that there are still 300,000 Christians in Iraq, more than 200,000 of them in South Kurdistan.

The KNK statement stressed that the Western powers were only interested in the pursuit of oil, and that all the ancient peoples of the region who are not Moslem and Arab are being wiped out.

The statement added that ancient communities, faiths and cultures are being destroyed and that no one was raising their voice in protest. The KNK statement drew attention to the support of the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the ISIS terror organisation.

The KNK statement concluded by calling on the Government of South Kurdistan to take all measures to safeguard the wellbeing of Christians and to take steps so that they might return home.

It also urged the Baghdad government to compensate them for their losses and appealed to Western public opinion to oppose the genocide and not remain silent, and called on civil society organisations to demonstrate the same solidarity with these communities as they have shown towards the people of Palestine.

The KNK condemned the oppression of these ancient peoples and emphasised that they would be in solidarity with them.