"Your sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future…You are in danger." -- Exiled Iraqi Archbishop Amel Shimoun Nona
By Miriam Raftery
August 25, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Qaraqosh, the largest Christian city in Iraq (photo, left), has been overrun by Islamic State terrorists (formerly known as ISIS, the Islamic Sate of Iraq and Syria), CNN reports.
Sean Malone from Crisis Relief International (CRI) sent a heart-wrenching text message stating, “We lost the city of Queragosh (Qaraqosh). It fell to ISIS and they are beheading children systematically.”
Malone said ISIS has pushed back Peshmerga Kurdish forces to within 10 minutes of where Crisis Relief International ‘s team has been working to smuggle food into the city. “Thousands more fled into the city of Erbil last night. The UN evacuated its staff in Erbil,” he said, adding, “Our team is unmoved and will stay.” He asked for prayers for the deliverance of people in Northern Iraq from the ISIS extremist goal of “mass conversion or death for Christians across this region.”
Word of a massacre has also emerged from the city of Amerli, the United Nations has reported. Mark Arabo, president/CEO of the Neighborhood Market Association in San Diego and a national leader of Iraqi Christians, denounced the slaughter. “This is yet another reminder of the brutal tactics carried out by ISIS against not simply Christians or Yazidis, but fellow Muslims,” Arabo said. “We strongly condemn the actions and call upon UN and NATO assistance to prevent further loss of life.”
Arabo also voiced horror at a video showing the beheading of captured American journalist James Foley by ISIS in responses to U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. “It shows that ISIS will go to whatever gruesome extend to strike fear in the hearts of those worldwide. Additionally, they claim to behead another American if the airstrikes are not stopped…We pray for the Foley family, and we pray that the United States continues in their efforts to exterminate ISIS.”
Archbishop Amel Shimoun Nona, exiled Archbishop of Mosul another former Christian stronghold in Iraq, gave an interview reported on Rorate Caeli warning that the fate of Christians in Iraq could soon befall the Western world if ISIS is not stopped.
“I lost my diocese,” the Archbishop , whose Eastern Rite church is under authority of Pope Francis, said. Exiled in Erbil, which has now fallen under assault by ISIS, Archbishop Nona warned the world, “Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future…Your liberal and democratic principals are worth nothing here. “
The Archbishop voiced alarm over the growing number of Muslims admitted to western nations, adding, “You are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles…Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”
Mark Arabo has called for emergency airlifts to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities displaced from their homes under threat of death by ISIS. Now, he has announced that he has compiled a list of thousands of names and detailed information with the hopes of persuading the Obama administration to authorize airlifts to safe havens elsewhere.
“Months of phone calls, emails and messages over social media has led to the acquirement of a list of names with contact information of displaced persons. These individuals are seeking asylym in foreign nations,” Arabo states in a media release. “This list will give the chance to government officials to provide a name to the victims of this genocide, and a hope to the hopeless.
Ben Kalasho, president of the East County Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce, has called for a different solution, urging the international community to establish a province for Iraqi Christians as a safe haven inside Iraq.
Besides the humanitarian crisis posed by a half million or more displaced Iraqi minorities and a widening sphere of atrocities committed by ISIS, the broader question is what the U.S. and the global community should do to halt the destructive path of ISIS, a group that has drawn comparisons to the Nazis in the scale and scope of its atrocities and quest for domination.
Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi on Sunday called for international efforts to destroy ISIS, Reuters reports. Abadi seeks support from Sunnis and ethnic Kurds to fight the Islamic State’s Sunni militants. U.S. airstrikes helped Kurdish forces take back control of a dam in Mosul seized by ISIS. But that’s a drop in the bucket as ISIS expands its deadly jihadism.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel now warns that ISIS poses an “imminent threat to every interest we have. They are as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They're beyond just a terrorist group," Hagel said at a joint press briefing with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey. He added, “This is beyond anything we've seen. We must prepare for everything."
On Sunday, a group calling itself the Lizard Squad posted an ISIS flag on Sony playstation’s network, taking down the system. More ominously, the group tweeted a bomb threat against an American Airlines flight bound for San Diego. Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley was onboard and was apparently the target of the threat, which turned out to be a hoax. The flight was diverted to Phoenix and searched, but no weapons were found.
Local Iraqi Chaldean leaders reacted to news of the bomb scare close to home.
“ISIS is a virus that has infected people from all around the world. We need to hit back hard and fast,” Kalasho told East County Magazine. “We need to kill the virus that has now spread to even western countries. This is not a game, people are dying. It’s unfortunate,” he concluded, “but what we need to answer back with is brute military force.”
Arabo stated, “It has become clear that ISIS is not simply a threat to the Middle Eastern Region, but to the safety and well-being of American citizens. We believe that the longer ISIS remains uncontained, the higher the likelihood is that their reach hits home,” he added in an e-mail to East County Magazine. “The Obama Administration must be quick to confront the realities of the humanitarian disaster occurring in Iraq, and the imminent threat that ISIS poses to the United States.”