ISIS Seizes 4th Century Christian Monastery in Northern Iraq – Kicks Out Its Monks
ISIS militants seized a 4th century Catholic Monastery and kicked out its monks on Sunday. The monks at Mar Behnam Monastery were forced to flee the monastery on foot with only the clothes on their back.
The Mar Behman Monastery was renovated in 1986, and is visited by thousands of Christians and Muslims yearly.
Several hundred Christians fled northern Iraq this week after threats by ISIS.
Russia Today reported:
Islamic militants have seized a monastery in northern Iraq, kicking out its Christian monks as well as Christian residents of Mosul.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) insurgents stormed the ancient Mar Benham monastery in the Christian town of Qaraqosh Sunday, near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which was overrun by ISIS on 10 June.
Mar Benham is a 4th century monastery run by the Syriac Catholic church.
A member of the Syriac clergy said the monks pleaded to be allowed to save some of the monastery’s relics but the ISIS fighters refused and ordered them to leave on foot with only the clothes on their back.
“You have no place here anymore, you have to leave immediately,” one of the militants told the monks, according to the clergyman.
The monks then walked several kilometers along a road and were eventually picked up by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who drove them to Qaraqosh, AFP reported Monday.
Christian families in the area said that as well as the monks there may have been another nine people living in the monastery.
This is the latest move by ISIS, which is trying to create a caliphate in north eastern Syria and northern Iraq, a Salafist-orientated Islamist state, which follows an extreme anti-western interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence and regards anyone with a different interpretation of religion as infidels and apostates.
Video was released of the monastery during a 2001 celebration.
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul. (NDTV)