Mosul (AsiaNews) – Jalal Moussa, 38, is the latest victim in the campaign of hatred launched by Islamic fundamentalists against Christians in Mosul, the theater of an “endless martyrdom,” to the silence of the media and the international community. Jalal, a Christian of the Chaldean rite, was shot to death in front of his home in the neighborhood of Noor, the same neighborhood where Fr. Ragheed Gani and three deacons were killed in 2007, and where Archbishop Paulo Farj Rahho was kidnapped. The kidnapping of the archbishop of Mosul at the end of February ended tragically two weeks later, when the archbishop’s body was found in an abandoned lot outside of the city.
AsiaNews sources reveal that “there could be two more victims,” but at the moment there are no further details on their identity or the manner in which they were ambushed.
There is no end to the bloodshed in Mosul: in less than a week, nine people have died because they were Christians. From the town in the province of Nineveh come dramatic appeals, pleading “that silence not fall” over the continuing slaughter. “A campaign is underway to drive the Christians out of the area,” a source reveals to AsiaNews, “and yesterday, a car with a loudspeaker went around the streets in the neighborhood of Sukkar, ordering the Christians to leave.” “Christians out of the city,” the people on board were shouting, “otherwise you will be victims of more attacks.”
The persecution against the Christians could conceal political and economic motives, woven together with the confessional element at the basis of the violence committed on the part of the fundamentalist and jihadist Islamic world. Some of the victims in recent days were owners of stores and commercial activities in Mosul, a clear signal that the terrorists intend to wipe out the economic activity of Christians, forcing the population to leave. According to some witnesses, before shooting the terrorists accused the Christians of “wanting to create an enclave in Nineveh,” and then proceeded with the execution in cold blood. Confirmation of how dangerous the city is, where gangs of terrorists connected to al Qaeda operate, also comes from the American military command: “Al Qaeda is trying to get a foothold in Iraq,” reveals General Mark Hertling, commander of US troops in northern Iraq, “and Mosul is the base of operations that they have chosen for launching their attacks,” with the infiltration of foreign militants from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, and Pakistan, through the Syrian border.
[Mosul] is also the place excluded from elections scheduled for January, and will hold a separate referendum that should determine destiny of the entire region, at the center of a struggle between the Kurdish and Arab communities. This is not an insignificant factor, if one considers the huge quantities of oil waiting to be tapped; the vote of the Christians could be decisive in tipping the balance to one side or the other.
The project inherent to the “plain of Nineveh” – where the intention is allegedly to create an enclave in which the Christians of Iraq could find refuge – has been at the center of exploitation and polemics, and is opposed by the majority of the Iraqi Church; the enclave, in fact, could be transformed into a sort of ghetto for shutting up refugees fleeing from Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, and Basra. The danger is that this could become “a ghetto for Christians,” as Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, described the project in 2007, “and a breeding ground for revolts, clashes, and social tensions, as is taking place today in Palestine.” For this reason, the Church has always promoted “coexistence under the banner of peace and mutual respect,” among populations that are “rooted by history and tradition in the Iraqi homeland.”
The violence in Mosul in recent weeks has driven an increasing number of people to leave the city. According to estimates by local Christians, “every week more than 20 families decide to flee.” This exodus has “emptied entire neighborhoods” of Christians, “to the indifference of the media and of Western governments.”