While Obama endlessly bashes Israel he says nothing about the religious cleansing of Christians in Iraq by the Islamic State.
Mosul, Iraq (AFP) – Jihadist militants have taken over a monastery in northern Iraq, one of the country’s best-known Christian landmarks, and expelled its resident monks, a cleric and residents said Monday.
Islamic State (IS) fighters stormed Mar (Saint) Behnam, a 4th century monastery run by the Syriac Catholic church near the predominantly Christian town of Qaraqosh, on Sunday, the sources said.
“You have no place here anymore, you have to leave immediately,” a member of the Syriac clergy quoted the Sunni militants as telling the monastery’s residents.
He said the monks pleaded to be allowed to save some of the monastery’s relics but the fighters refused and ordered them to leave on foot with nothing but their clothes.
Christian residents from the area told AFP the monks walked several miles along a deserted road and were eventually picked up by Kurdish peshmerga fighters who drove them to Qaraqosh.
The Syriac cleric said five monks were expelled from Mar Behnam. Christian families in the area said there may have been up to nine people living at the monastery.
The incident was the latest move by the Islamic State, which last month declared a “caliphate” straddling large swathes of northern Iraq and Syria, to threaten a Christian presence in the region spanning close to two millennia.