ASIA/IRAQ - Archbishop Nona: statue of the Virgin Mary destroyed by Islamists, but the suffering of Christians must not become a pretext for propaganda

Monday, 23 June 2014

Mosul (Agenzia Fides) - The Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, His Excellency Amel Shamon Nona, confirmed to Fides Agency the destruction of a statue of the Virgin Mary by the Sunni insurgents who have taken control of the city, but adds that for the moment there is no evidence to rumors of an "Islamic tax" that was imposed on Christians in Mosul by the Islamists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. "A statue of the Virgin Mary" refers to Fides Archbishop Nona "was destroyed by Islamist militants who had pulled it down from a tower of the Chaldean church of the Immaculate Conception.
The shrine is a place of worship attended by the faithful", adds Mgr. Nona "and during the removal and destruction of the statue of Mary, the interior of the church was not infringed.
The Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul does not confirm rumors about an alleged "personal tax" imposed on Christians in Mosul by Islamist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Different sources insist that the Christians who have remained in the city are very few, mostly elderly. "So far", says Mgr. Nona, who has also moved to the village of Tilkif, "only certain public Christian employees have been told not to return to their place of work, making explicit reference to their status as members of a minority. Of course, the situation is getting worse, and we are all worried. But I also see that the condition of Christians sometimes becomes the object of propaganda. It is a dangerous exploitation even for Christians themselves".
On Sunday June 22 in a television interview, the Iraqi Minister for Human Rights Mohammed Shia al Sudani accused Sunni militiamen of ISIL of having committed atrocities among the people of Nineveh Plain, burning churches, imposing taxes on Christian communities and raping Christian women, five of whom, according to the minister, have committed suicide after being subjected to violence. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 23/06/2014)