Iraqi police this week arrested several men who desecrated and destroyed Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian graves and the church belonging to the Christian graveyard of Bados, Mosul metropolitan area. The arrests come after local Christians in November 2019 found the Christian graveyard in a state of destruction.
Earlier this year the priest of the Chaldean church in Mosul, Fr. Dinha Ablahad, made a telephone statement to the Syriac TV channel Suroyo TV and said,
“On November 24, 2019 we visited our graveyard in the town of Bados, Mosul metropolitan area. It is the biggest Christian graveyard in Mosul. To our disappointment we found the church belonging to the graveyard levelled to the ground. When we further investigated the graveyard, we found graves opened and desecrated. Tombstones destroyed.
In the new year we paid another visit to the graveyard in Mosul, but now, at our request, accompanied by Iraqi military personnel. Only to be even more disappointed and see something we would never expect. More destruction, open graves and missing bodies and bones. Somebody had come back to finish the job.
Why this destruction? Only because they are Christian? These people have gone to their last resting place with God. What is it that you want from them? Why this hate against Christians? What have they done to you? Have they stolen your lands or goods? We demand from the Iraqi authorities to investigate this thoroughly and learn who has done this act of desecration.”
SyriacPress has learned that the arrested men are from Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Syria and Afghanistan. Their names are known, and a local source told SyriacPress that one of the men is from the city of Midyat in southeastern Turkey and another from Ortaca in southwestern Turkey.
ISIS Ideology on the Return and Continues Terrorizing
The destroying of the graves for the sole purpose of destroying Christian legacy and identity, combined with the different nationalities of the arrested men, makes very clear that the ideology of ISIS is still very much alive and keeps committing attacks on civilian targets, urban areas and official buildings.
ISIS cells keep in hiding in mountainous areas in northern Iraq but also live within the local population from where they stir up resentment against Christians. This is evident in the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian heartland of the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq where local Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian political and Church leaders, and international operating NGOs warn of the threat of a “second genocide” against Christians and other minorities in the region.
In a recent article published in the newspaper Catholic Herald, Fr. Andrzej Halemba, the Middle East projects coordinator for NGO Aid to the Church in Need, is quoted speaking of a “genocidal mentality” and speaks of reports that the period ISIS ruled parts of northern Iraq has awakened fresh enthusiasm for hardline “Caliphate” Islamism among some Muslim communities in the region.
In pre-ISIS Mosul tens of thousands of Christians lived, among them many Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians. Post-ISIS… only a handful have returned.