Syria’s Christian villages ‘hollowed out’ by IS

Before the war there were many churches in the area around Hassaka who held regular services, like this one in Tel Jezirah.  (Photo: World Watch Monitor, 2009)
The Islamic State, following its defeat in Syria, has left behind hollowed-out Christian villages, reports the New York Times. Assyrian Christians, an indigenous Middle Eastern minority, once formed thriving farming communities along the Khabur River in Syria’s northeast. But when IS attacked the area in 2015, the militants demolished churches and kidnapped . . . Read More

Nineveh Plains Christians ‘slowly returning to normal’

Nineveh Plains Christians ‘slowly returning to normal’
Four years since IS seized the town of Karamles in northern Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, the local Christian community are “returning, albeit slowly, to normal”, AsiaNews reports. Hundreds of Christians joined in a procession following a Mass at the weekend, holding candles and chanting psalms, to celebrate their return and the new life . . . Read More

Jail for Iranian pastor’s son found guilty of ‘acting against national security’

Ramil Bet-Tamraz was one of the Christians arrested during a picnic in the Alborz Mountains north of Tehran last August. His father, Victor, was arrested on 26 December 2014 for celebrating Christmas.
The son of an influential pastor silenced by the Iranian government has been handed a four-month jail sentence for his involvement with illegal house churches, World Watch Monitor has learnt. Ramil Bet Tamraz’s lawyers were informed of the sentence for “acting against national security” on 8 July. One of the . . . Read More

Iranian Christian woman pleads with UN to help family overturn ‘false and unjust’ spy charges

Iranian Christian woman pleads with UN to help family overturn ‘false and unjust’ spy charges
An Iranian Christian woman pleaded with the UN’s Human Rights Council today to urge Iran to overturn “false and baseless charges” imposed on her father, mother and brother. Dabrina Bet-Tamraz’s parents and brother are appealing against lengthy jail sentences they have received for church-related activities. The appeal by her father, . . . Read More

Chaldean Patriarch congratulates surprise Iraqi election winner

Chaldean Patriarch congratulates surprise Iraqi election winner
The Chaldean Patriarch, Louis Sako, has telephoned Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr to congratulate him on his unexpected victory in the country’s recent parliamentary elections. The Patriarchate also said that Sako told Sadr he hoped for a government that promotes the common good of all the Iraqi people. According to . . . Read More

Iran: appeal heard by judge with ‘poor track record in dealing with Christians’

Iran: appeal heard by judge with ‘poor track record in dealing with Christians’
Four Iranian Christians each sentenced to at least ten years in prison had their first appeal hearing yesterday (25 April). In the hearing, initially scheduled for February but postponed, a judge heard the case of Christian converts Hadi Asgari, Amin Afshar-Naderi, Kaviyan Fallah-Mohammadi and Assyrian pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz. At least . . . Read More

Iraq’s Assyrian Christians: persecution and resurgence

Iraq’s Assyrian Christians: persecution and resurgence
Samir Gedhya never wanted to leave his home in Qaraqosh for the unknown, even when the Islamic State group was almost at his doorstep, sweeping through the towns of Iraq. As the menace to Qaraqosh loomed, his eldest son Faraj, then 16, decided to flee to France, entering by a . . . Read More

Iraq: Christian family stabbed to death in Baghdad

Iraq: Christian family stabbed to death in Baghdad
An Assyrian Christian family of three were murdered in their home in a predominantly Shia neighbourhood in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, last Thursday (8 March). Dr. Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni, 61, a radiologist at a nuns’ hospital, his wife Dr. Shaza Malik Dinno, gynaecologist at the same hospital, and her elderly mother, . . . Read More