July 28, 2014 12:00 am
The first Holocaust of this century is taking place in Mosul, Iraq, and the British government is strangely silent. Churches have been destroyed and now, for the first time in 2000 years, Iraq’s church bells have fallen silent. Reports have flooded the media of how the Christians and the Shiites of ISIS occupied Mosul were ordered to pay a higher tax, leave or face death by the sword.
The property of minorities has been confiscated and many of those fleeing have been stopped at checkpoints, where armed ISIS militia have threatened harm if they do not give up the few personal possessions they grabbed whilst in the hurry to flee. Like the synagogues of Nazi occupied Poland, Churches and other holy shrines have been demolished, burned to the ground, and precious artefacts looted to fund the global Jihadist movement.
Priests, Nuns and civilians seeking sanctuary have also been turned out onto the streets and forced to seek refuge further north, in to Kurdish controlled areas. No one is immune to the brutality of ISIS, not even the elderly, women and children. Pictures have emerged from inside Mosul of Iraqi Turkmen being crammed into cargo lorries. ISIS have also cut the water supply to those suspected of hiding Christians or Shiites, and to those minorities still visible but unable to flee. The Vatican itself has released the names of those Iraqi Muslims, who having been raised in a multi-ethnic community, decided to defy the segregation policies of the Islamic State. For some, their efforts may be seen as being in vain as those Iraqis were soon put to death by those, who some in the West, still view as heroes. Other acts of resistance are also being recorded, where daubed over the red ISIS inscribed “N” for Nazarene, which ISIS placed on the homes of Christians, brave Mosul residents have been writing in black “We are all Christians” now.
But why has the British Government remained so silent, especially after its long time criticisms of Syria’s Human Rights record, its relentless hostility to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the fact that Queen Elizabeth II , who heads Britain’s Church of England, has come out in “solidarity” with the “persecuted Christian community of Mosul”? Some people feel that the British Government cannot accept the possibly of involvement of British and other European citizens in the first Holocaust of this century. In the case of the United Kingdom, a minimum of 500 citizens are currently known to be fighting for ISIS but this figure has been disputed by government officials and is believed to be much higher.
Over the past couple of years, British newspapers have also shown what many describe as being a sympathetic approach to British ISIS recruits, with parallels having been drawn with those men who died fighting fascism in the Spanish Civil War. And no British city has been immune from ISIS recruitment either. In Manchester alone, one British Pakistani ISIS member was killed in Syria, while a British Somali family has a son and two teenage daughters currently somewhere in either Iraq or Syria. In the past, the British government has sought to discourage people from going to fight in the Middle East with threats of enforcing prevention of terrorism legislation and promises to revoke citizenship. However, as the situation in Mosul has now proven, the level of crimes being committed has become much more serious. The International body Human Rights Watch, recently warned that “the laws of war ban all parties to a conflict from targeting, intentionally damaging, seizing or destroying religious, cultural and historic properties” while “discrimination on the grounds of religion is strictly prohibited. Murder of civilians, taking hostages, as well as pillaging, constitute war crimes”.
The Geneva Convention itself states that food and water must be provided and the refusal to do so constitutes a war crime. The Nuremberg Trials were able to convict members of Hitler’s Nazi establishment on the grounds that withholding such essentials as water was in itself a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment. What many are finding ironic about the British government’s silence over the ISIS actions in Mosul is that the British government was one of the founding countries which established these international laws and, whilst in the past Britain showed enthusiasm for prosecuting German war criminals, now they seem suddenly struck dumb, on how to prosecute their own.
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This post was written by Hussein Al-alak