Above image: The Nineveh Plain as seen from St. Matthew’s Monastery, just miles from the front lines of the Islamic State.
It’s been two years since Christians living in the Iraqi city of Mosul were forced to flee their homes. In August we will reach to the two-year anniversary of exile for those Christians who lived in villages of the Nineveh Plain, outside of Mosul.
Two years is a very long time to live in makeshift shelters, dependent on the charity of others. But when asked what they most need, the universal answer from displaced Christians is, “just one thing, to go home.” Surveys of displaced people conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) tell the same story: 97% intend to go home, rather than go to Europe or the United States (or stay where they are).
Two years after the conquests by the Islamic State, there is today some cause for optimism that displaced Christians will get their wish. More and more villages on the Nineveh Plain outside of Mosul have recently been liberated from the Islamic State. A push to liberate Mosul itself clearly will occur later this year. And we are confident that displaced Christians will begin returning home in this year – once they are convinced they will be safe.
Then our task – at SPC, in partnership with all who feel solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq – will be to rebuild the churches desecrated by the Islamic State, and to help the exiled Christians rebuild their lives.
Help us prepare to rebuild the desecrated churches in the Nineveh plain by contributing to the effort using the form below: