ISIS targeting Christians: “The West must step in now… or we will be wiped out.”

How grim is you life?  We watch in horror as Christians in Iraq are being persecuted, driven, hunted by Islamic terrorists.  The Religion of Peace… right?

‘Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Arbil [in Kurdistan]. For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians’

Chaldean patriarch Louis Sako

From the Daily Mail:

Thousands of Iraqi Christians pour out of Mosul after ISIS jihadis give them deadline to convert, pay or face death

Thousands of Iraqi Christians today poured out of Mosul after ISIS jihadis gave them an ultimatum – convert, pay or face death.
The Islamic State terror group declared that Christians must either convert to Islam, pay a special tax or leave the city, around 250 miles north-west of Baghdad.
If they did not do so by noon (9am GMT) today, there would be ‘nothing for them but the sword’, it said.


From Catholic World Report:

ISIS tags Christian homes in Mosul for confiscation as Christians flee
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch: “Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe”

Warning that “Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe,” Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako has written a letter “to the people of conscience and good will in Iraq and the world” in which he describes the dire situation in which Iraqi Christians find themselves.

“The control exercised by the Islamist Jihadists upon the city of Mosul, and their proclamation of it as an Islamic State, after several days of calm and expectant watching of events, has now come to reflect negatively upon the Christian population of the city and its environs,” the patriarch reported in his July 17 letter. “The only alternative is to abandon the city and their houses with only the clothes they are wearing, taking nothing else. Moreover, by Islamic law, upon their departure, their houses are no longer their properties but are instantly confiscated as property of the Islamic state.”

He also stated that ISIS forces had started marking the homes of Christians in Mosul with the Arabic letter “N,” for “Nazara” (Christian). “We do not know what will happen in future days because in an Islamic state the Al-sharia or Islamic code of law is powerful and has been interpreted to require the issuance of new I.Ds for the population based on religious or sectarian affiliation,” Patriarch Sako wrote.


From Breitbart:

Iraq’s Christian leaders have just made a desperate cry for help. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of Iraq’s Catholic church, has issued an appeal “to all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world.”
The situation for Iraq’s Christians has been steadily deteriorating ever since the 2003 invasion, in part because the U.S. never acknowledged that Christians were being targeted by Islamists and did not prioritize protection of Christians or other minorities.
But with the recent sweep through Mosul and other Iraqi cities by the jihadi group ISIS, Iraq’s Christians look to be on the verge of genocide.
On June 16th it was reported that ISIS had marked the doors of Christians in red. Patriarch Sako’s letter confirms that rumor. While no one yet knows what this ominous sign foretells, Sako and other Christian leaders are pleading with the world to intervene before the meaning of the sign is made clear.
Earlier this week, Iraqi human rights activist Pascale Warda came to Washington from Baghdad to raise the alarm with the State Department and members of Congress. She was accompanied by Bishop Yousif Habash, who now resides in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but who is originally from Qaraqosh, a city 15 miles from Mosul which was also recently overrun by ISIS, where the Christians still speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.
Bishop Habash said, “Christians throughout the Middle East have been targeted, and we are on the verge of being exterminated. The West stepped in to stop the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and Kosovar Muslims, so we know it can be done. The West must step in now and save the Middle East’s Christians, or we will be wiped out.”


Sts. Nunilo and Alodia! Pray for us!

St. Lawrence of Brindisi!  Pray for us!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Modern Martyrs, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Rachel K says:

    Patriarch Sako must be heartbroken. Just as it seems as bad as it can get, it gets worse for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. We could do with a St Lawrence to charge ahead with a crucifix.
    Perhaps some attention could be paid to this unfolding tragedy by the West.

  2. Iacobus M says:

    St. Lawrence of Brindisi indeed! We could use some of his fighting spirit about now.

  3. keithp says:

    None of the secular authorities care. Same as at Constantinople in 1453. Europe had other things to deal with and Constantinople was far, far away, right? Right?

  4. Uxixu says:

    And when the Turks were at Vienna, it showed how important Constantinople was in keeping the Turk occupied. Difficult to see what could be done from the outside without vast bloodshed, which as the Gaza situation shows, doesn’t deter those who favor Jihad… I have and will continue to pray for the intercession of Our Lady and that God might save our brethren in the East.

  5. Lee says:

    Isn’t this grounds for a “just war” Father Z?

  6. majuscule says:

    I see people on Facebook (and other places) are changing their profile pictures to the Arabic letter “nun” in support of Christians.

    I hope it gets noticed.

    I wasn’t around for the holocaust. I used to wonder how it happened. Of course, in those days news wasn’t as instantaneous as it is today.

  7. acardnal says:

    If readers want to support these persecuted Catholics, please consider sending a donation to Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA). It is a papal agency.

  8. Jason Keener says:

    St. John Paul II was absolutely correct to warn against the foolish idea of a War in Iraq. We have abundant evidence in Iraq and from other wars that wars usually create more evils than they prevent or rectify. Iraq is now a failed state, and the Christian population is being driven out of the region. I hope those people formulating public policy to re-make the world order through the use of the United States military will finally take note of their folly. I’m speaking of John McCain, John Bolton, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, and others who are always itching for an intervention somewhere. I see few good options for the Iraq situation apart from prayer and donating money to the Christians there so they might re-locate to a place where they might live in peace.

  9. Uxixu says:

    There are two parts to that. As one who was in the invasion in OIF1, I will believe until my last days it was the right thing to do. I saw it in the eyes of the people in Baghdad. They WERE liberated and that was a good thing.

    Separate from that is disbanding the Iraqi Army was a huge mistake, as was the naive idea in complete removal of the Baath Party (and it’s Sunni dominance of the rest of the country). Similarly, the idea that Iraq had the cultural makeup to be compatible with western style Democracy (which as we as much as any know is filled with amoral decadence). I do think a representative democracy with at least an upper chamber based on the tribes could have well complimented a lower house with general representation of the public, but there has been a clear lack of reputable far sighted statesmen, in any case, not just in Iraq but in the whole world.

    Over it all militant Islam continues to make strides even in areas with Muslims who are relatively well regarded, particularly Kemalist Turkey, which is sliding away from Ataturk’s reform. This administration has shown no regard to it’s allies (see a similar situation in Egypt), truculent non-aligned entities (Libya), as well as those hostile but unsupported (Iran), which does nothing to help.

  10. Kathleen10 says:

    I recall seeing a video of Saddam Hussein, where he was presiding over a government meeting. The auditorium was filled with men. His henchmen went out into the crowd and stood next to men he named, who were then removed and taken out and I assume, shot. Some of the men were in tears. It was cold blooded and horrible. We all heard reports of rape rooms in Iraq, and of course the poor Kurds were gassed, men, women, children, the elderly. Many hundreds apparently. He was sheer evil. It seemed the world should have tried to do something to help the poor Iraqi people, but propping up democracies in the middle east seems now like folly. Still, we tried, and American and allied lives were lost trying to help. That was a noble endeavor, in a long line of American and allied noble endeavors.
    The poor Christians in the middle east. Our media does not care. Our current government will not care. I will take the time to contact my state reps, poops though they are, and ask them to do something. I challenge everyone else here to as well, and we will at least make a little noise on behalf of our brothers and sisters. I would contribute to a fund to bring them to the US, and think they ought to come here. In light of the emergency why can our parishes not extend offers to a family or two? We have a mission in Haiti in our state, surely we can do something for Iraqi Christians? Someone wrote here recently that in their parish they were sponsoring muslims from somewhere in Africa? It makes more sense to bring Iraqi Christians here.

  11. Peter in Canberra says:

    This is obviously very complicated but one can only wonder if the ‘coalition of the willing’ and the ‘weapons of mass deception’ cards had not been played if the middle east would be a far more stable place than it is now. When I lived in the USA for a brief period a Montanan colleague frequently bemoned the ‘2000 mile screwdriver’ from Washington DC. The same logic applies even more forcefully to the ‘game of thrones’ which the leaders of nations states play remotely.

    The islamists, and some of us christians, seem to identify the ‘West’ with christendom. Sadly I think we are both wrong. The ‘West’ is all about self-interest.

  12. Kerry says:

    “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!
    Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia
    in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many
    countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods
    of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the
    Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and
    refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan
    law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as
    a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the
    faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.
    Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion
    paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde
    force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant
    and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising
    fearless warriors at every step, and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the
    strong arms of science, the science against which it (Islam) has vainly struggled,
    the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”
    Thoughtful readers will know whom is being quoted here.

  13. Ivan says:

    Why doesn’t the USA intervene now?

  14. Gratias says:

    Kerry’s quotation was from Sir Winston Churchill (I had to Google it). Verbum sapientae.

  15. Priam1184 says:

    Neither the West nor the USA will do a damn thing about this and we all know this; the West is not even Christian anymore. If the Iraqi Christians are pinning their hopes on this, then they might as well tie the noose around their own neck. Christians in the Middle East have a long history of depending on outside political powers for their protection and, while it works for a time, it usually ends in disaster.

    I am loathe to say what follows but it needs to be said: the ancestors of these Christians chose to accept dhimmi status. They chose to accept the status of a minority protected by a hostile power and long ago gave up on our Lord’s command to preach the Gospel to all nations and this is where it ends for them. Sometimes it takes many centuries and other times it does not. We should all learn something from this disaster.

  16. Gratias says:

    The expulsions of the Christians by the Muslims is the first holocaust of the 21st Century. Obama has taken US out of world power and his government cares about Gays, not Christians.

    One very good thing, I think, was Pope Francis’ vigil for peace in Syria. There were tens of thousands praying the Rosary publicly at St. Peter’s square. It was a great sight too watch on TV, which I did. And it did a lot of good, for at least our country did not go in to bomb Assad, who as president of a Syria is the only counterbalance to Islamic State at the moment (although likely will fall once Caliph Ibrahim turns again towards Damascus).

    Many like to blame “root causes”. May I point out to Turkey and Saudi Arabia? This is the source of this holocaust of martyrs offered to our Christian Triune God. These are supposed to be US allies and we can pressure them to stop their persecution of Christians. We could remind Turkey of the Armenian Christian Holocaust and Saudi Arabia of their oppression of their own Shiites that live among the oil fields. If you want to take the longer view, we can throttle them by drilling in Federal lands such as ANWAR, just to give an example.

    It is a terrible tragedy that Islam burned down a millenarian cathedral in Mosul. Perhaps the Shiites will find their missing courage and give their Sunni brethren in the religion of peace a good bloodletting.

  17. Dienekes says:

    By all means, have faith and be acutely aware that this life is a rocky, rocky journey. It’s also important to NOT “put our faith in princes” or the plans or promises of men. An option for a just and effective use of force at least offers a chance for deterrence and/or protection of the innocent.

    Resolute and well armed people would seem to be poor prospects for massacres. I don’t think God intended His people to passively await butchery by anyone who comes along.

    St. Michael, defend us…

  18. Bob B. says:

    This is yet another foreign policy failure of this president – he has no one who understands what’s going on across the globe and, remember what the prime foreign policy issue for this State Department was/is – LGBT.
    Benghazi was a prime example of how this administration also operates when Hilary (et al) blamed it on a movie!
    ISIS was trained and armed by the U.S. as a moderate group fighting Syria. Wonder who was responsible for vetting them? I’ll bet you can guess.
    So the West sits around, twiddling their thumbs, not saying much. Say something critical that can be construed as anti-Islamic and watch what happens. (Try mentioning the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem actively helping Hitler in WWII and then turning on Israel when it was created. His nephew was Arafat, btw, of the Munich Olympics and various aircraft bombing fame.) Unfortunately, the Vatican has been wearing blinders for far too long, too. Having guests in the Vatican Gardens and seeing the USCCB visit the region won’t really ever bring ecumenism, either, you will see and hear what you want to see and hear, not what the reality is.
    These are the people that should be considered for settlement in the various countries of the West, but have one strike against them – they’re Christians and they know what the Islamists are like.

  19. Chon says:

    Priam1184: What do you wish the ancestors of Iraqi Christians had done instead of enduring dhimmi status? Do you think they should have left the Middle East without Christian witness by migrating? On the contrary, their courageous choice to stay in the Middle East is precisely fulfilling Our Lord’s command to preach the Gospel to all nations. The Middle East is one of the least evangelized places, located in what mission planners call the 10-40 window. How can Iraq have a Christian witness if they all leave? Middle Eastern Christians refuse to be run out of town. They deserve our admiration.

  20. teejay329 says:

    “I hope those people formulating public policy to re-make the world order through the use of the United States military will finally take note of their folly. I’m speaking of John McCain, John Bolton, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, and others who are always itching for an intervention somewhere.”
    Mr. Keener,
    If I might humbly say most of those folks you mentioned are political commentators, not politicians. Only Senator McCain has any power whatsoever out of that “itchy” group to change legislation. Wow, I’m surprised you just didn’t come right out and blame President Bush.
    I don’t care what your political beliefs may be, but, as for myself, I am a Christian first and foremost…a Catholic Christian, and am going to support anything to defend my faith and the faith of my suffering and persecuted brethren.

  21. JPK says:

    From a purely geo-political point of view, this just goes to show how important it was to hammer out a Status of Forces Agreement back in 2010. The US wouldn’t have to had keep a large standing military presence in Iraq – just enough to deter terrorism, train and add backbone to the Iraqi military, and act as a Quick Reaction Force if things went south. Perhaps leaving an infantry and aviation brigades with additional special operations people would have been sufficient.

    I think the events of the last several months have reinforced the notion or “realism” in foreign policy. I’m sure most recall FDR’s quip when speaking about the brutal Shah of Iran, “He may be a bastard. But he’s OUR bastard.” Saddam was a brutal dictator who suppressed Shia Muslims. His Baath Party had many prominent Chaldean Catholics (one of whom was his Foreign Minister, Terek Aziz). Likewise, some prominent Baathists in Syria were Christians (I think some could trace their lineage back to the heretic, Nestor). The Syrian dictatorships have been just as brutal as anything Saddam or the Iranian Mullahs could dish up. And as brutal and evil as these secular dictators were, some would say they were nothing as bad as the alternative.

    US interests aside, I think it is fair to say that most in the West (including those who worked in both the Obama and Bush administrations) have totally miscalculated what we dealing with. The famous destruction of the ancient Buddha statue carved out of a mountain in Afghanistan should have served as a warning. I know some theologians say that Islam awaits its Luther or Calvin. I think they’ve got it totally wrong. Islam did undergo a Reformation during the last Century. And Al Qaeda and jihadists are the end result. I dread to think of what will transpire if these “reformed” Muslims ever get a foothold in Italy or France.

  22. Sonshine135 says:

    You are King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism; refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Your eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Your chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them as a laver of redemption and of life.

    – From the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
    Saint Joseph Continuous Sunday Missal 1958 ed.

    Maybe, it is because we don’t have the chutzpa to pray like this anymore that the Savior of the World doesn’t listen to our prayers. Our prayer is often weak and feeble. The common denominator is that all of these people- Europe included- have turned away from the one true God and have become either Pagans or Atheists. Lord, save us from this scourging lest it be your will. Give us the fortitude to rise against it and endure it with faith.

  23. av8er says:

    As someone who just re-deployed from that area, Uxixu’s commentary is spot on.

    The current crop of “leaders”on both sides in DC lack the political will to what is right.

  24. St Donatus says:

    I am sure the visit with the US congress went like this:
    Do you have any oil to give us? Do you supply us with oil like Saudi Arabia and can cut it off if we don’t help you? Well if you don’t have anything we want and you are the hated Christians that make trouble for our HHS mandate, abortion, and same sex marriage, we will not help you. In fact, we have been giving money and weapons to ISIS for several years now. What makes you think we will help you since they are our allies in Syria?

  25. CrimsonCatholic says:

    This is going to come to Europe and the US real soon.

    Look at the the “pro-Palestine/anti-Semitic” protests going on in the major cities , and look at all the violence and destruction is going on at these “peaceful” demonstrations. Once they force out the Jews in these places, they will start targeting the Christians. It is just so sad that the Christians in Iraq are being forced out after living in peace there for 2,000 years.

  26. Priam1184 says:

    @Chon Where is the witness? What are its accomplishments? I don’t see any. The Middle East, west of Iran, was almost entirely Christian at the time of the first Islamic onslaught; over the centuries they dwindled and disappeared and they are now almost as nothing. And even worse they presented the face of the Church to the world as a passive, dwindling, and shrinking institution, not the sort of thing that was any threat to storm the gates of Hell and do what our Lord created it to do.

    But my point was less to criticize the ancestors of these Christians in Mosul who are now suffering terribly, but to use this tragedy to illustrate the choices we in the formerly Christian world face today. If we accept what the doctrine of religious freedom that came out of the so called Enlightenment tells us: if we accept that we are just one faith among many and that we should get along with everybody else for the sake of a phony peace and harmony and stop trying to convert the nations as we have been commanded to do, then we will shrink into nothingness and despair and it won’t take fourteen centuries.

  27. Konrad says:

    Don’t call for western intervention, it was the west that made IS strong, providing them with money, weapons, turning a blind eye towards these extremists as long as they fought against Assad in Syria, now they’re out of control. The same thing happened in Afghanistan in the 80s, the western world financing the Taliban as long as they fought the Soviets, then they got out of control. All these interventions, past and future, will end the same way. I’m quite pessimistic about that.

  28. Jim in Seattle says:

    The FSSP has called for a day of prayer on August 1st (Day of Prayer for Christians persecuted in Iraq, Syria and the Middle East).

    It would do well for all parishes, OF or EF, to follow this lead.

  29. marcelus says:

    Pope Francis has said that the Christians of Mosul and other parts of Mesopotamia, who have been present in that part of the world, are undergoing severe persecution for their faith. “They are persecuted; our brothers are persecuted, they are driven out, they have to leave their houses without having the possibility of taking anything with them,” the Pope said in his Angelus address on Sunday. “I want to express my closeness and my constant prayer to these families and these people. Dear brothers and sisters who are so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know that you are stripped of everything. I am with you in the faith of the one who has conquered evil!,” Francis

    Other than that, 60k volunteers should be gathered , from Christian background, properly equiped, move in and wipe ISIS from the face of the earth.

  30. acardnal says:

    Jim in Seattle, I have seen a number of clergy, religious, parishes, dioceses and Catholic orgs announcing the call for First Friday devotions for those intentions.

  31. ad Deum says:

    Help at: Featured by Michael Voris on an Open Mic episode. They actually go into areas and rescue or defend in legally.

  32. Chon says:

    Priam1184: Witness? Among other things, martyrdom.

  33. Reconverted Idiot says:

    Jim in Seattle: many thanks for that. Interesting saint’s day, 1st August,
    St Alphonsus Liguori.
    Well worth reading.

  34. marcelus says:

    I remeber this from when I was a kid. Israel pulling the Falashas out of Ethiopia.This is what a western cCristian alliance must do asap.:

  35. Pingback: ISIS Targeting Christian -

  36. SKAY says:

    Obama could have done something about this a year ago.

    “Listened to Megyn Kelly tonight and Iraq asked our President last August for drone strikes against ISIS last August and again in January- our President used a basketball analogy when asked about it. People have been murdered by ISIS, Christians forced to leave their city of 2,000 years, a church burned that stood for 1600 years, and Obama refuses to drone ISIS…He could have stopped it all…It’s maddening”
    I also saw this being discussed on the Kelly File.

    In Congress at a hearing this morning:
    “Rep. Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman, recalled a hearing six months ago when U.S. officials said the extremists must be “constantly pressured and their safe havens destroyed” so that they “never again gain safe haven in western Iraq.” Yet since that time, the insurgents seized vast swaths of territory and a series of towns and cities, including Mosul.”

    “What the administration did not say was that the Iraqi government had been urgently requesting drone strikes against ISIS camps since August 2013,” Royce said. “These repeated requests, unfortunately, were turned down.”

  37. Priam1184 says:

    @Chon There has been some martyrdom, but there has also been a lot of compliance. When the Muslims first came out of Arabia into the lands between the Zagros mountains on the current Iraq/Iran border and the Mediterranean all these lands had a vast majority Christian population. The Muslims were merely a tiny armed minority who had replaced Byzantine and Persian overlordship with their own. The Christians of those days were not martyred, if they had been things might have turned out differently. Instead the Muslims instituted the jizya tax for Jews and Christians. They didn’t give the choice of Islam or the sword, the choice was either convert or pay a tax (and don’t build new churches or renovate existing ones) and frankly they wanted tax revenue more than converts.

    Because here is the dirty little secret: it was Catholics who financed the early Islamic caliphate. The jizya tax is what kept it going and funded its armies’ march across North Africa and east to the borders of India. Sorry but it is true. Had a few of those Christians in that first rush of Islam actually opted for martyrdom and led the rest of them not to pay the tax there probably would be no Islamic world today, at least not as we know it. But they had been liberated by the Edict of Milan from violent persecution three centuries earlier and had no desire to go back so they just paid the tax and let their religion wither.

    And it did wither. Over the succeeding centuries the world witnessed the greatest apostasy the world had ever seen until our own day as these people left the Church and became muslims. When I look at some of these jihadis tramping around I often wonder how far back you would have to go into their family tree to find a Catholic. Muslim scholars love to point out this great apostasy from the Church as proof of the superiority of their religion and more than one has pointed something else out: WE NEVER TALK ABOUT IT. Well it is time we do that especially since we ourselves are living in a potentially greater apostasy right now.

  38. Reconverted Idiot says:

    Priam, that is all very interesting stuff. Thank you.

    Can you point me to any authoritative or reliable sources/documentation expanding on this period of history, please?

    Many thanks.

  39. Faha says:

    In the coming weeks and months you will be seeing more public efforts by the Assyrian Chaldean Christians to establish their own independent nation in the Nineveh plains ( their traditional homeland east of the Tigris and Mosul). The Kurdish government is also planning a referendum on independence. The US government has been opposed to any independence movement by these people since our invasion in 2003 and it will take much pressure by American Christians to help the Assyrian Chaldean Christians and Kurds in their efforts to establish their own countries where they will no longer be subject to persecution and genocide by both Sunni and Shiite Arab militants. All of you can certainly pressure and urge your senators and representatives to support these people . Do not be deterred by the usual evasive and vague responses that politicians often give. Congressman Wolf (VA) has this past week given a very persuasive speech in Congress on this issue of the genocide of Christians in Iraq .

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