February 19, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2090

"The Shame of Mosul"

February 19, 2009
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 2090

In recent weeks, the Christians of Nineveh province in northern Iraq have been the target of a brutal campaign of murder, expulsion and home demolition, prompting thousands of Christian families to flee from the center of Mosul to the suburbs and to the villages north of the city. Christian and other sources have accused Al-Qaeda of being behind the persecution campaign. Some have said that the persecution is a response to the Christians' demand for the reinstatement of Article 50 of the Provincial Election Law, which secures seats on the provincial councils for minorities.[1]

The Iraqi government has condemned the persecution of the Christians, promising to defend them and to apprehend the "terrorist groups" responsible.[2] It has also reported the arrest of several individuals suspected of involvement in the crimes, without naming the organizations to which they belong.[3] Iraqi MP Osama Al-Najifi, of the Iraqi National List, stated that it was the Kurds who were expelling the Christians and that they were also persecuting other ethnic groups, as part of their campaign to "Kurdicize" the region.[4]

In an October 15, 2008 article in the Iraqi daily Al-Ahali, Iraqi Kurdish liberal Dr. Hussein Sinjari, president of Tolerancy International, a non-governmental organization, decried the expulsion of Christians from Mosul.

Following are excerpts from his article:[5]

"[This Occurred] When the Mosulites Allowed the Mullahs and the Friday Preachers to Give Fascist Interpretations of Religious Texts... And To Call for Jihad and Martyrdom"

"Once again, criminals in Mosul are targeting its Christians. Once again, the mullahs remain silent – and many of them even openly encourage Muslims to kill others, in their Friday sermons and in their religious exhortations...

"Mosul was a city that flourished economically and culturally because its minorities flourished. Now let the Mosulites, who are known to look out for their own interests, see what has befallen their great city. Why has it turned to ruins?...

"[This occurred] when the Mosulites allowed the mullahs and the Friday preachers to give fascist interpretations of religious texts, rather than interpreting them to mean compassion, brotherhood in humanity, and the acceptance and respect of all religious or ethnic 'others'; when they accepted an interpretation of the world based on delusions, tall tales of 'lost glories,' and the call to jihad and martyrdom."

The Mosulites Must Repudiate Their Disgrace by Rejecting the Mullahs of Terrorism

"[This occurred when the Mosulites accepted] tragicomic fatwas, like the fatwa to kill Mickey Mouse, or the fatwa banning restaurants from serving tomatoes and cucumbers on the same plate because cucumbers are male and tomatoes are female, and the two sexes must be separated so as not to lead to sin; or the fatwa stipulating that goats must be clothed so that their genitalia are covered. Through all this the Mosulites dug their city's grave.

"Before the death of Mosul – as a city and a civilization – is announced to the entire world, the Mosulites themselves must repudiate the disgrace – their disgrace – by rejecting the mullahs of terrorism, the ideologues of Islamic fascism. This is what is truly in their interest."

Humans Lose Their Humanity... When They Become Complicit in Crime Through Their Silence

"Humans lose a great part of their humanity when they become complicit in crime through their silence, and when they do not respect and do not accept the 'other' who is a minority.

"Iraq without its Christians and its minorities is an Iraq that will wither. The Tigris and the Euphrates will dry up. Iraq will die in disgrace.

"We will not let our beautiful Iraq die – the land of the two rivers, the land of Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, Akkad, Medea, and Nineveh.

"Thus, the Mosulites and the government must cooperate and muster force against the fascist obscurantist criminal terrorists who are bereft of all human conscience; they must strike at them and eradicate them from our beautiful city..."

"[Mosulites Must] Stand Up For The Christians"

"[They must] stand up for the Christians, for Iraq, for Mosul, for ancient Nineveh, for minorities, for humanity, for tolerance, democracy, and human rights for women, children, and men; they must stand up for science, the arts, beauty, justice, and taking joy in life.

"The Mosulites must, first and foremost, stand up for themselves and repudiate the disgrace – they must repudiate the crime of the [new] Anfal campaign against the Christians."[6]


[1] Al-Mada (Iraq), October 11, 2008; Al-Sabah (Iraq), October 15, 2008.

[2] Al-Sabah (Iraq), October 12, 2008.

[3] Al-Mada (Iraq); Al-Sabah (Iraq), October 17, 2008.

[4] Al-Sabah (Iraq), October 17, 2008.

[5] Al-Ahali (Iraq), October 15, 2008.

[6] The Anfal campaign was conducted by the Saddam regime against the peshmerga and Kurdish civilians in the 1980s, resulting in the killing of tens of thousands and widespread destruction. The name of the operation was taken from the Koranic Surat Al-Anfal 8, which includes verses dedicated to fighting nonbelievers.

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