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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
New Campaign for Iraqi Christians #WeAreN supported by Vatican
Mother and daughter who fled Mosul pray to Our Lady at Mar Afram Shrine in Qaraqoush, Iraq
(Vatican Radio) “We need more than words now, we need concrete actions, we need the solidarity of Christians worldwide, not to be afraid to talk about this tragedy”, says Archbishop Amel Nona of Mosul speaking to Vatican Radio over the phone from Nineveh province, Northern Iraq. As if in response to this plea, over the past 24 hours a campaign has been mounting in the global twitter sphere to stand with Iraqi Christians, under the hashtag #WeAreN: This refers to the Arabic letter ن, or "n", which Islamic State militants have left on some doorways in areas under their control to indicate that the inhabitants are "Nazarene" or Christian.
The campaign is uniting Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant as well as people of good will worldwide, in an effort to raise awareness of the religious cleansing underway in Iraq. “This is a horrible term” confides Abp. Nona “but it is what is happening, it is what is going on right now on the ground”.
The pastor speaks of how his community that has been scattered to the four winds by the Islamists onslaught, he speaks of their courage in enduring persecution since 2003 and the strength that the Pope’s words during his Angelus last Sunday has given them. However, he also speaks of their fear that this brutal ethnic and religious cleansing is unfolding amid global indifference.
This is why Archbishop Nona’s appeal is not just for concrete solidarity to the thousands of displaced Iraqis but for Christians outside of Iraq to have the courage to speak up in defense of their brothers and sisters suffering in silence within Iraq.
“We made an appeal to the world explaining what happened to the Christians of Mosul, a crime against humanity”, he says. “We are also appealing for three very important things: protection for us and all other minorities, material support for the families that have fled the city of Mosul and homes and schools for those families who have left everything”.