2008 attacks on Christians in Mosul
|2008 attacks on Christians|
|Date||October 2008 – January 2009|
|al-Qaeda in Iraq, Kurdish Peshmerga|
2008 attacks on Christians in Mosul was a series of attacks which targeted the Christians in Mosul, Iraq. The Christians of Mosul who were already targeted during the Iraq War left the city en masse heading to Assyrian Christian villages in Nineveh Plains and Iraqi Kurdistan. Both Sunni extremists, and Kurdish peshmerga were blamed for the attacks.
Religious minorities in general and Christians in particular were badly affected by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism after the invasion of Iraq. A number of Christians was killed in Baghdad and Mosul, and in 1 Augusts 2004 a series of explosions targeted Churches in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk leaving 15 dead and 71 injured.
On 13 March 2008, the body of the Chaldean Archbishop of the city, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was found buried in a shallow grave near Mosul. Rahho was the highest ranking Christian cleric to be killed in Iraq.
The first series of attacks started in October when Christians families were given choice of death or converting to Islam. By the end of the month around 14 Christians were killed and more than 13,000 were forced to flee to Nineveh Plains. The Iraqi government pledged to $900,000 to help the refugees.
Seven bodies belonging to Christians were found in the streets of Mosul on early November. A house belonging to Syriac Catholic sisters was attacked and two nuns were killed and a third severely injured. Around 500 families were forced to flee the city as a result, where they found refuge in Churches and with relatives in nearby villages.
Accusation of Kurdish involvement
The Kurdish region is generally considered much safer for Christians and other religious minorities than other parts of Iraq. These attacks were however blamed on the Peshmerga who were forcing Christians out of their homes by threatening them with death or by killing them. Eyewitnesses claimed some of the assailants were identified by their dialect as Kurds trying to pose as Arabs. Rumour circulated that Kurds had secretly targeted the Christians in order to draw them to their side during an anticipated referendum concerning the Disputed territories of Iraq, of which the Christians form a substantial minority.
Some Iraqi and American military officials denied the allegations of Kurdish responsibility. Younadem Kana, a member of Iraq’s parliament and head of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, said media reports, including the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, “published lies under my name” accusing the Kurds of allowing violence to displace more Mosul Christians. “My statements were changed and fabrications were published under my name,” said Kana, who also heads the Assyrian Democratic Movement. He said the accusation against Kurds, first publicized at a press conference Oct. 25 by Sunni parliamentarian Osama al-Nujaifi, were “baseless.”
- Paulos Faraj Rahho
- 2013 Iraq Christmas Day bombings
- 2010 Baghdad church attack
- 2004 Iraq churches attacks
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- National Public Radio – 'Some Displaced Iraqi Christians Ponder Kurds' Role' http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96103301
- Iraqi_MP_Peshmerga_-_not_al-Qaeda_-_targeting_Christians_in_Mosul_ http://news.trendaz.com/index.shtml?show=news&newsid=1319626&lang=EN