Christians and non-Sunni Muslims from Mosul, northern Iraq, waiting to return after their city’s liberation from Islamic State is completed, may have many years to wait, and their chances of doing so depend on the actions of the Iraqi Government, according to a leading researcher.
Charlie Winter, senior research fellow at the International Centre for Radicalisation Studies at King’s College, London, said that ISIL in its propaganda had “audaciously” likened Mosul to the Saudi city of Medina in the days of Muhammad. In 622 AD, Muhammad left Mecca for Medina, after hearing of a plot to assassinate him.
Speaking in London on 25th January, Winter said “there is no such thing as a post-IS world”, and added that ideological measures will be needed after military victory is achieved, to address ongoing levels of sympathy for the group and its supremacist aims.
Asked what measures would be necessary for the city’s diverse non-Muslim communities to return to Mosul, he replied that it’s vital that the Shia-led Iraqi Government shows they care about the population who lived under the group’s occupation, and rebuild what was lost.
However, Mr. Winter warned that if the Iraqi Government continues to fail to look beyond sectarian divisions and provide for its citizens equally, stability will be “many, many years” away.
In another report on Mosul, the Middle East Advocacy Coordinator for global charity Open Doors, which supports Christians under pressure for their faith around the world, said: “Open Doors believes that equal citizenship, dignity in different aspects of life, and enhanced and inclusive peace and reconciliation efforts – which give faith-based organisations a leading role – are the key three elements for achieving sustainable peace in Mosul and Nineveh.”
The report’s coordinator, who did not wish to be named, added: “We need recognition for the vital role of the Church in rebuilding and reconciliation … Maintaining the presence of Christians is not only about them; it is for the good of society as a whole …”.
- Pray for the city of Mosul, and for Iraq, for peace and stability for this city and nation, and for restoration of life and hope for the people who live there.
- Pray for the Iraqi government, to recognise the importance of Christians in the region, and to give them protection, dignity and respect as equal citizens of their country.
- Pray for Christians to return to Mosul without fear, and to be instrumental in rebuilding and bringing healing to this city.
- Pray for the witness of Iraq Christians to be a light to this nation, that will draw many to know the healing love of Christ Jesus.
Matthew 5 vs 14 and 16: “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden … In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”