July 4, 2016
Large numbers of Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities have been murdered
Crazed jihadis have looted, destroyed, or occupied all 45
churches in the city of Mosul, while targeting scores more
across the country.
Large numbers of Iraq’s other ethnic and religious
minorities have also been murdered, maimed or abducted,
while unknown numbers of women and girls have been forced
into marriage or sexual enslavement since the fall of
Mosul to ISIS in June 2014.
The shocking reality for Christians living in Iraq was
revealed in a report, No Way Home: Iraq’s Minorities
on the Verge of Disappearance.
It said there was a “large exodus of Christians”
from Iraq immediately after the US invasion as community
members were targeted for their religious differences as
well as their perceived ties to the West.
Two successive wars in Iraq – the first by the British and
Americans in 2003, and the second with ISIS a decade later
– has seen the Christian population in Iraq tumble from
1.4million before 2003 to under 250,000 today.
The report describes the “sweeping scale of the
destruction of houses, shrines and other institutions
belonging to Christians”, including dozens of houses
that were blown up in Mosul by ISIS fanatics.
The charities add: “Since the fall of Mosul, ISIS has
destroyed, occupied, converted to mosques, reused as ISIS
headquarters or shuttered all Christian institutions in
“All 45 churches and monasteries inside Mosul are
reportedly now occupied by ISIS, who have looted, burned
and destroyed property, in addition to removing the
Those Christians who have chosen to stay have been
subjected to punitive taxes by ISIS.
Refugees fleeing Mosul
Christian women have also been targeted in heinous crimes
including sexual assaults and the rape of girls as young
The charities which co-wrote the report include the
Minority Rights Group International, the Unrepresented
Nations and Peoples Organisation and Institute for
International Law and Human Rights.
They say ISIS fighters prefer younger women and girls as
they are symbols of virginity and purity.
US soldiers in an Iraqi church
One Christian mother from Mosul who was interviewed for
the study described being forced to ‘marry’
several ISIS militants who would rape and then
She said: “We tried to fight them off, but in vain.
They had their fun, and then they did it again.
“I was raped four times, the other girl three. On
their way out, the men divorced us.
“Ten minutes later two more men, this time Iraqi,
entered the room.
“We were married and raped again. That night I was
married to eight different men and divorced eight times.
Each man raped me three or four times.”
Christians who have chosen to stay have been subjected to punitive taxes by ISIS
Mark Lattimer, Minority Rights Group International’s
executive director, said: “Thirteen years of war have
had devastating long-term consequences for Iraqi society.
“The impact on minorities has been catastrophic.
Saddam was terrible; the situation since is worse.
“Tens of thousands of religious and ethnic minorities
have been killed and millions have fled for their
Other minority religious and ethnic groups have also faced
Most of those belonging to the Yazidi and Kaka’i
communities have been forced from their homes and are now
living as refugees either inside Iraq or abroad.
Alison Smith, of No Peace Without Justice, added:
“It’s unthinkable that crimes of this magnitude
and impact are being committed with total impunity.
“The Government of Iraq really needs to take urgent
steps to provide redress to the victims – referring the
situation to the International Criminal Court would be a