Christian towns in Iraq’s Kurdistan region show both heartbreaking damage and signs of resilience
April 14, 2017 1:57 p.m. ET
THE CRUCIFIX over the church’s door had been spray-painted with a large X. Inside, another cross had been pockmarked by bullet holes.
The further I ventured into the modest church in the small northern Iraqi town of Batnaya on April 9—Palm Sunday—the more overwhelming the destruction appeared. A statue of the Virgin Mary had been decapitated, and other statues had been smashed to bits. The face of Jesus had been ripped from a painting. Every Christian symbol I could see had been defaced or obliterated. I couldn’t hold back my tears.
In a nearby graveyard, headstones had been uprooted or desecrated. Even a final resting place hadn’t been safe from the fury of Islamic State.
© AFP / by Tony Gamal-Gabriel | Mourners pray next to coffins of the victims of the blast at the Coptic Christian Saint Mark’s church the previous day during a funeral procession east of Alexandria on April 10, 2017
Islamic State claims bombings on 2 Egypt Coptic churches that killed 36, wounded dozens — “There was blood all over the floor and body parts scattered” — “Civilized people don’t act this way.” — “Coptic Christians face regular attacks by Muslim neighbours”
© Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP (file photo) | Members of the Egyptian police special forces stand guard on Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2016.
Tags: Assyrians, Catholics, Chaldeans, Christian families, Christian towns, Christians, Daesh, Iraq's Kurdistan region, ISIL, ISIS, Islam, Islamic state, Kurdish, Kurdish peshmerga forces, Muslims, Syriacs, U.S. military