#932 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 27 Jul 2014.
The human tragedy continues to escalate in Iraq, with hundreds of Christian families driven from their homes in the northern city of Mosul by Islamic militants, who took over the city following a sweeping military offensive that began six weeks ago.
The militants issued an ultimatum to Christians living in Mosul to either convert to Islam, pay a hefty tax, or be executed, saying there would be “nothing for [Christians] but the sword” if they failed to accept the ultimatum, which expired last Saturday.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “any systematic attack on the civilian population, or segments of the civilian population, because of their ethnic background, religious beliefs or faith may constitute a crime against humanity.”
Christians who fled the city reportedly said the sound of church bells mingled with the Muslim call to prayer, the ultimate symbol of Mosul’s religious freedom, would likely never be heard again.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.