Just a decade ago, over a million Christians resided in Syria and Iraq. Now thanks to the wars in those nations and the rise of ISIS, almost all of them have been displaced or slaughtered. The few remaining survivors of the hell that ISIS brought are barely staying alive, relying entirely on help from the good will of Christians. In the meanwhile, the governments of the West have done little to nothing to help the people, instead standing by idly as these people died or in some cases even helping ISIS carry out their massacres.
In a recent interview with the Bishop of Mosul for the Syriac Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Nicodemus Sharaf, he told the National Catholic Register that the West has done nothing to help the Christians there. Drawing on an example from when a fellow Iraqi Christian immigrant to Australia was forced to completely redraw construction plans he had because of a conservation law for a certain species of frogs, he said the West gives more protection and help to animals like it frogs than it does to the Christians of Iraq, noting that as we have said, most Christians do not want to stay in Iraq because they are afraid that ISIS will return to finish off what little remains:
So you hold the U.S. ultimately responsible?
Yes, they’re responsible, and those who helped America, for destroying our life, destroying our country. They should rebuild our country if they believe in human rights. I don’t believe in these two words, there are no human rights. But in Western countries, there are animal rights. In Australia they take care of frogs. One of our Syriac citizens, who’s a builder, bought land, took money from a bank and wanted to build houses and sell them. Then when he wanted to get a certificate to build, in the middle of the land, he came across a hole with eight frogs in it. The government of Sydney told him: “You can’t build on this land.” He said: “But I’ve taken money from the bank and I must get to work” and they pushed him to build in another place, making him pay $1.4 million to build a different place for these eight frogs. And yet we are the last people who speak Jesus’ language. We are Aramaic people and we don’t have this right to have anyone protect us? Look upon us as frogs, we’ll accept that — just protect us so we can stay in our land.
How does the current situation in Iraq now compare to how it was in the 1990s, 1980s, especially the relationship with Muslims? Why and how has it changed?
We’ve had the problem with the Muslims for 1,400 years, not from now. This is the truth but we don’t say it as we want to live in peace. ISIS came to Mosul in 2014 but we experienced [Islamism] in Mosul four times before ISIS, from 2003 to 2014. ISIS is the fifth wave because in 2005 they said in mosques in Mosul, in the neighborhoods: “Don’t buy the Christian houses, you’ll get them for free.” That was 2005. Muslims’ faith tell them that everything belonging to a non-Muslim is free for you: his money, his dignity, his women, anything. It’s free for them, and it’s their right, because they are not Muslim. This is their faith. God told them that.
How come they didn’t seem to believe this before 2003?
Because of the law. We can live with evil if there is law, to control the place. At the time of Saddam, it was a time of dictator, a big dictator, but there was law, there was the police, there was the army. Anyone who did anything to hurt you, you could call 104, the police, and they came immediately. After Saddam the dictator, it was the time of democracy. If we called this number, if anyone answered, he’d say: “Look after yourself.” So we can’t live with Muslims. How can we do it? With law, society, police. This is the problem. There should be strong government in Baghdad, to have law. Without it we can’t live with anyone, because, as Christians, we’re not educated in fighting, but other are. If they don’t see anyone to fight with, they fight with themselves, Sunni, Shia. This is their problem, and we don’t have this education. So we need law, and if there’s law we can live with anyone. We live here in peace in Erbil in Kurdistan because there’s strong government, there’s law, to protect us. (source)