Following planned murders, violence, and threats targeting Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the country’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has decided to deploy 1,000 policemen to protect the religious minority. The prime minister also opened an investigation into the attacks.
On Sunday, the day of the announcement, a Christian businessman was killed and his nephew wounded in a drive-by shooting in Mosul. The attacks against Christians continued to take place in Mosul on Monday as the owner of a Christian music store was killed, adding to a three week long string of attacks, which has claimed the lives of thirteen Christians.
According to SIR, the prime minister’s office has stated: “two brigades of the national police have been deployed in Mosul, which is considered by the USA and the Iraqi government to be Al Qaeda’s last stronghold in the country.”
Provincial governor Duraid Kashmula reported this past Saturday that the spike in violence has led to an exodus of about 3,000 Christian families from Mosul, which he said was the worst since the outbreak of war in 2003.
Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk Louis Sako responded to the attacks by charging that Christians are met with an “unacceptable silence” at the global level. The archbishop said many Christians in Mosul no longer go to school or work for fear of harassment by Islamic radicals.
Some employers are telling Christians to stay home because they cannot guarantee their safety.
“At the end of the day, these assassins are damaging the image of Islam,” Archbishop Sako told the Italian daily Avvenire, adding that Iraqi imams have the duty to condemn the persecution in Mosul.
The archbishop believed that Christian pastors had also “missed the mark,” claiming there was a lack of “clear and unified ecclesiastical discourse.”
On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI made an appeal for Christians who are persecuted all over the world, specially referencing India and Iraq.