Middle East

Worse than Genghis Khan?

A girl holds up a sign that reads: "I am an Iraqi, I am a Christian" at Mar Girgis Church in Baghdad, July 20, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Malik

BAGHDAD: ISIS militants who drove Christians out of Mosul are worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who ransacked medieval Baghdad, according to the head of Iraq’s largest church.

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako made the comments during a church service in east Baghdad, where around 200 Muslims joined Christians in solidarity. “The heinous crime of ISIS was carried out not just against Christians, but against humanity. How in the 21st century could people be forced from their houses just because they are Christian, or Shiite or Sunni or Yazidi?” he asked. “Christian families have been expelled from their houses and their valuables were stolen and ... their houses and property expropriated in the name of ISIS.”

“This has never happened in Christian or Islamic history. Even Genghis Khan or Hulagu didn’t do this,” he said. Hulagu Khan led a Mongol army which sacked Baghdad in 1258, killing tens of thousands of people, destroying a caliphate that had lasted nearly 600 years, and leaving the city in ruins for centuries.

Muslims at the service held up leaflets declaring “I am Iraqi, I am Christian,” some writing it on their shirts.

Others marked themselves with an “N,” the first letter of the Arabic word for Christian, “Nasrani” or Nazarene. ISIS has been putting an “N” on Christian property slated for seizure.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 22, 2014, on page 8.




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