“We will kill you all”
ISIS graffiti written in German found in a recaptured village in Iraq
By Maria Lozano
Various photos sent by Stephen Rasche, a solicitor of the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, to the Catholic pastoral 15 kilometres from Mosul document the presence of extremists from European countries among the ISIS fighters. The photo below shows graffiti written in German and was taken in Batnaya – a small town on the Nineveh plains, 15 kilometres from Mosul. According to Fr Steven Esam, a priest working there at the time, approximately 850 Christian families were living there when it was taken over by terrorists in August of 2014.
In the inscriptions, the Christians are reviled as “Slaves of the Cross” and threatened with death. And they proclaim: “This country is Islamic country, you dirty ones, that you not belong in.” And a further inscription declares: “Either you leave, or we will kill you.” The inscriptions partly written in bad German are on the walls of the chapel of St Addai in Batnaya.
(The graffiti on the side wall of a Church in Batnaya – a small town on the Nineveh plains alongside headless statue of the Virgin Mary destroyed by IS forces © Aid to the Church in Need)
Stephen Rasche commented on the pictures in his letter to the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need: “The most important thing is to show the great degree of destruction in order to be able to understand what has happened and just how dangerous it still is to return. Furthermore, by showing the destruction and desecration of our holy places, I would like to communicate to the world just how much dread and fear our own people are feeling right now when they have to decide whether they would later like to return.”
Further pictures were taken in the neighbouring city of Karamles (also Karemlash, Karamlash, Karemles, Karemlish), approximately 29 kilometres southeast of Mosul. The pictures illustrate the brutal actions of the terrorists. Apart from the churches that were desecrated and reduced to ruins and the broken and mutilated statues of the saints, Aid to the Church in Need was especially shocked by the desecration of the grave of a Catholic priest. Stephen Rasche explained, “The grave of one of our priests was dug up and the corpse removed. We found his vestments and the lid of the coffin, but there was no trace of the corpse.” The Catholic pastoral charity learned that the deceased was Salem Ganni, a priest who passed away in 2009, a relative of the 34-year-old priest Ragheed Ganni, who was shot dead in Mosul in 2007.
(The burnt out Mar Addai church in Karamles on the Nineveh Plains close to Mosul © Aid to the Church in Need
Since 2014 ACN has provided over $28.4 million in aid for the Christians of Iraq, supplying emergency aid and funding projects for education, food and accommodation for the refugees)
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 172 languages and 50 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
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