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Iraqi Muslims back social media campaign against discrimination of Christians

2014-07-22

"I am Iraqi, I am Christian.” Several sectors of Iraqi society took up the phrase in support of Christians communities, under persecution from fighters from the Islamic State.

ISIS militants marked the homes of Christians in Mosul using this symbol: the Arabic equivalent of "N,” as in Nazarene.  

In response, Iraqi users took to sites like Twitter to express their disapproval. Ali, a young man from Mosul, created the hashtag #I_am_Irai_I_am_Christian, which has lit up social media sites.

Christians and Muslims alike from Iraq, and around the world, contributed to the campaign, tweeting their own pictures holding up signs with the phrase.

Ghaith Gaffney, a young Muslim man living in Baghdad uploaded this Facebook photo, wearing a crucifix. He wrote that he spent many sweet moments with his Christian friends, and learned to love them as a brother and friend. "Today,” he said, "we are all Christian, even myself.”

While Muslims opposed to the Islamic fighting have also suffered violence and discrimination, Christians have bore the brunt of the aggression.

Since rebel fighters from the Islamic State captured Mosul on June 10, life for Christian communities, among the oldest in the world, has become nearly impossible.

ISIS warned that they would rid the territory under their control of Christians, and they seem to be getting their way. In 2003, before the U.S.-led invasion, Mosul had 35,000 Christians. Up until today, only 3,000 remained. But after the mass exodus these past few weeks, Chaldean Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona claims his diocese "no longer exists.”


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