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Rome Reports

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Desecrated Tabernacle and decapitated Christ, remains of persecution against Middle Eastern Christians


They shot at least six times to try to destroy the body of Christ. It is the door of a tabernacle of a parish in the Syrian city of Kessab. The Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and other jihadist groups occupied the city for months.

This cross, shattered by ISIS, belongs to a parish in Batnaya, Iraq. 

In another church, terrorists shot this statue of the Blessed Mother. 

This other decapitated Christ was not spared from the desecration perpetrated by the jihadists. They had a clear objective: to eliminate the Christian presence from Iraq and Syria, their people, their liturgical objects and their roots.  

These remains, which testify to ethnic cleansing, have been exhibited very close to the Vatican. The Hungarian government has compiled them in this exhibition which, after visiting Budapest, New York and Washington, has arrived in Rome. 

MÁRK ÉRSZEGI
Embassy of Hungary to the Holy See
“There are people, near us, who sometimes have to give their own lives or suffer daily discrimination because of their faith in Jesus Christ. It is good that these objects, photos and their voices come to us. It's great that they arrive in Rome, especially now when we are talking about young people, so that we realize how important our faith is and how much we owe it.”

When they didn't use bullets, they used fire to destroy prayer books and Bibles. In some churches, they left no trace. Many of the ones they left standing were used as a firing range.

In addition to Syria and Iraq, extremism has also spread to Egypt. These are the faces and stories of the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS on a Libyan beach. 

The crime was for being Christians, Nazarenes. Therefore, ISIS marked, the houses of the infidels, with this letter, “n” in Arabic. As soon as it self-proclaimed its state of terror, ISIS sent this letter to the Christians with an ultimatum: convert, die or pay the jizya, a tax for non-Muslims. Even the jihadists minted their own coin, these gold dinars. 

The map of the Middle East is full of wounds. Many Christians have been killed who refused to leave their homeland or deny their faith.

Fr. Ragheed Ghani did not close the doors of his church. This Iraqi priest was assassinated by extremists in Mosul in 2007, after Sunday Mass. In 2014 his tomb, located in Karamlesh, was desecrated in this way by the ISIS militia.