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"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)" Those are among Jesus' last words on the Cross that first Good Friday. It was a cry of agony, but not despair. The dying Christ, to rise again in three days, was repeating the first words of the 22nd Psalm. And today,... Read More
In the half-burned church of St Mary al-Tahira in Qaraqosh, several dozen Syriac Catholics are holding a mass in Aramaic amid the wreckage left by Isis. The upper part of the stone columns and the nave are scorched black by fire and the only artificial light comes from three or four candles flickering on an... Read More
Even when Isis retreats, its strategy is to ensure a state of terror and insecurity is left in its wake
Syrian Christians are too terrified of past kidnappings and present suicide bombings by Isis to return to their homes in towns and villages from which the Islamist militants have been driven. Much the same is true of other communities in Syria, meaning that few of the 4 million Syrian refugees now outside the country and... Read More
After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything
Two years ago Jalal Yako, a Syriac Catholic priest, returned to his home town of Qaraqosh to persuade members of his community to stay in Iraq and not to emigrate because of the violence directed against them. "I was in Italy for 18 years, and when I came back here my mission was to get... Read More
The ultimatum imposed by militants for Christians to convert to Islam, pay a tax or be killed has passed with the collapse of communities that have existed for millennia
The last Christians in northern Iraq are fleeing from places where their communities have lived for almost 2,000 years, as a deadline passed for them to either convert to Islam, pay a special tax or be killed. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) issued a decree last week offering Christians the three... Read More
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