(FEBC) Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq with 1.8 million people, fell to ISIS militants early in June, after much of Northern Iraq was already taken over by Sunni militants. ISIS, which stands for “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” is an offshoot of al-Qaeda whose aim is to create a Sunni caliphate across Iraq and Syria.
In the process, 1 million Iraqis are now refugees, many of them Christians. The city of Mosul is considered one of the largest Christian strongholds in Iraq, but the takeover has forced thousands of Christians to flee, as Christianity Today reports.
Perhaps of most concern to Christians in Iraq is the overall intent of ISIS, which would make being a Christian both illegal and life-threatening.
The crisis has spurred the United States to send 300 military advisors to provide an assessment of Iraqi troop capabilities. Meanwhile, another group has also entered the fray, as Shiite militants paraded through the streets against the government.
While the outcome of the fighting is hard to predict, the safety of Iraqi Christians and Christian organizations in the country is dire, as ISIS continues its push towards Baghdad.
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