Christians may never be able to return to Mosul as ISIS has new generation of child jihadis
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Affected Countries: iraq;
More than 100,000 Christians were forced to flee Mosul in Iraq when ISIS invaded in 2014.
And as the Battle for Mosul reaches its final stages some Christians have attempted to return to the city.
But a vicar, whose church 50 miles away in Erbil cares for hundreds of Christian families who left their homes, has warned a huge danger remains.
Father Daniel said the terror cult’s destructive ideology has already spread to the next generation, sparking fears ISIS will continue their chilling campaign to boot Christians out of the Middle East.
He said: “We can go back but it is a question of safety. We are dealing with a new generation bred by ISIS – they have a radical anti-Christian viewpoint and so it would be really hard to go back.
“It would be very hard for children here and children in Mosul to get together. Can they even get along together as two groups? Could they adapt to each other? We really need to work with the children in Mosul to change what ISIS has implanted there.”
ISIS has long used children in Iraq and Syria as it aims to eradicate Christians from the region.
Children, dubbed the Caliphate Cubs, armed with knives and guns have appeared in propaganda videos featuring executions.
There have also been reports of youngsters being trained as suicide bombers.
Father Daniel, who left his Iraqi village when ISIS invaded, works with Christian children devastated by the trauma of ISIS, who tortured and killed their loved ones.
He warns education could be their only weapon against the jihadis and their young supporters with children once terrorised by the group now starting to work against ISIS.
Father Daniel said: “I told them get your education and use that as a weapon against ISIS. School is seven years to 18 years. The older ones are starting to work as volunteers helping the ones who are coming in now to Erbil from the latest troubles in Mosul.
“Some are working as translators when people come from other organisations. They want to help their community and for their voice to be heard around the world.”
Father Daniel says Christians in the region have long worried for their future with his church struggling to cope with the influx of fleeing families.
He said: “Before it was difficult for Christians because after Saddam was taken out from authority everything went from bad to worse and Christians were persecuted by extremists after 2003.
“Christians in Mosul were targets for terrorists so life was really bad then. ISIS came and they purged Christians from Mosul so many fled to places like Erbil. The Christians that stayed in Mosul under ISIS control – were beaten punished and killed. Christians were given three options, pay a heavy tax, leave the city or face public execution.
“Christians were really worried about being targeted long before ISIS. They were under surveillance but when ISIS came it got much worse. ISIS wanted all the Christians gone.
“I was in Erbil when ISIS rose up. The church was not prepared for the number of fleeing people they had to receive, people who were forced leave their homes but they rallied round and the church buildings provided shelter so people stayed on the floor of churches. Gradually the church provided tents, cabins and now rents houses for people. It’s very important for people to have dignity and to live in a place that allows them to continue a decent life.
“The church was helping them and guiding, sometimes comforting – they had lost everything and were really traumatised so we comforted them then helped them and guided them so we worked with their trauma to heal them and bring families together and bring unity to help them move forward.”