Date: August 26, 2018
ICC Note: The first restored church in Mosul, Saint Korkis, has at last opened its doors to resume services. The Christian presence in Mosul, however, remains small. Most refuse to return, citing security concerns and broken community trust as the main reasons why they would rather rebuild their lives elsewhere. ISIS continues to have a presence in Mosul, and bodies are regularly pulled from the rubble.
Iraq (al-Araby) – Years after the Saint Korkis Church in Nineveh was destroyed following the Islamic State group’s [IS] takeover of Mosul, the church has resumed services and is ringing its bells once again.
“Donations from individual Christians and civil organisations have contributed to this attempt to restore life to the church,” former parliamentarian Emad John told The New Arab.
The return of the sound of bells has been described as a signal of the return to life in Mosul and unity in Iraq.
But Emad criticised the Iraqi government for failing to participate in the restoration of the church by not contributing to the effort or funds.
“The contribution of the government would be very symbolic for us, but they neglected our demands and refused to participate, forcing us to rely on private donations,” he said.
“The number of Christians returning is still very few in Mosul because of the lack of government support,” Emad added.
He called on the government to “develop special programmes to support the return of Christians.”
The July 2017 defeat in Mosul came eight months after an alliance of Iraqi armed forces, Shia militias and Kurdish fighters launched an offensive to retake the city from the extremist group.
It was considered one of the biggest defeats for the Islamic State group, but the cost of this “liberation” has been immense.
Monitoring group Airwars estimated that between February and June last year, as many as 5,805 Iraqi civilians were killed in Iraqi and coalition attacks. But many believe the actual number is likely much higher, with rights group Amnesty International saying at the time that the “true death toll of the battle may never be known”.
In addition to the deaths, nearly a million people fled their homes during the military operations and the fighting destroyed entire districts of the city, with the scale of destruction unprecedented in Iraq’s most recent conflict. The UN estimated that the cost of repairing basic infrastructure is set to top more than $1 billion, with rebuilding likely to take several years.
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for the families that have suffered trauma and loss to find peace through Jesus Christ. Pray for the restored church to bring courage, strength, and hope for the future of God's people. Pray for opportunities to show the love and truth of Christ as they serve others and begin rebuilding.