Iraqi Christian woman barely escapes death at hands of Islamic State

An Assyrian Christian woman and her elderly mother who fled from Mosul in northern Iraq on July 19, ahead of the deadline set by the Islamic State for Christians to convert to Islam or die, returned to her home on August 16. She had fled to Dohuk, along with thousands of others, but returned to her home in Mosul because of the  “unbearable conditions” in the refugee camps.
 
According to the Assyrian International News Agency, the Christian woman she returned to Mosul to collect some of her belongings that had been entrusted to her Muslim neighbor, but discovered that her neighbors had fled to Kirkuk, where Kurds are in control, because they had found it impossible to live under IS rule. “She remained in her home, leaving only to shop, and always fully veiled,” said the AINA story.
 
On the evening of August 20, three Islamic State militants burst into her house and demanded that she and her mother to convert to Islam or face death. The women appealed to their other Muslim neighbors, who had come to the house after IS entered, but they stood idly by and did nothing.
 
“The IS members brought her to the mosque located in the New Mosul neighborhood in order for ISIS governor (wali) to determine her fate,” said the AINA story. “The governor told her to convert to Islam but she refused, so he ordered her to leave the city, saying there is no place for infidels within the Islamic State. The militants told them that Christians should not expect to be welcomed in Mosul where they had once lived before being threatened and dispossessed by the Islamic State.
 
“She begged him to allow her to stay until dawn since it was almost midnight. He agreed but said she could not go back to her home since it was now owned by the Islamic State,” added AINA. “She was forced to sleep at a neighbor's house until dawn on Thursday, when she left Mosul and returned to Dohuk with her mother.”
 
The story concluded, “She now has no desire or hope of ever returning to her home in Mosul.”


Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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