Take a Look Inside the Shattered Churches of Iraq

The Islamic State has devastated the ancient heritage of Iraq’s Christians. Many churches, some hundreds of years old, were damaged or even destroyed, along with earlier archaeological treasures such as palaces belonging to the Kings of ancient Assyria.

Here is just a snapshot of ISIS crimes against Iraq’s Christian community. 

A portrait of Jesus Christ is seen inside the heavily damaged Church of the Immaculate Conception in the Christian town of Qaraqosh, also known as Hamdaniya, some 20 miles east of Mosul, on December 4, 2016, one month after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists.

 

David Dosha, the priest of the Church of Mart Shmony, located in the Christian Iraqi town of Bartella, about 10 miles east of Mosul, inspects the damage on October 24, 2016 at the church's compound after Iraqi forces retook control of the town from jihadists of the Islamic State group. The counter-terrorism service (CTS), Iraq's best-trained and most battle-seasoned force, retook full control of Bartalla on October 20.

Debris litters the ground of the heavily-damaged Saint John the Baptist church in the Christian town of Qaraqosh, also know as Hamdaniya, some 20 miles east of Mosul, on December 4, 2016, one month after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists.

 

A church that was partially destroyed by Islamic State is pictured during the offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants, on October 23, 2016 in Bartella, Iraq. Despite stiff opposition, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have continued advancing towards Iraq's second largest city of Mosul and are now within 5 miles of the city where ISIS fighters have spent months building elaborate defenses in anticipation of the offensive.

 

A fighter from the NPU (Nineveh Plain Protection Units) walks through a destroyed church on November 8, 2016 in Qaraqosh, Iraq. The NPU is a military organization made up of Assyrian Christians and was formed in late 2014 to defend against ISIS. Qaraqosh, a largely Assyrian City just 22 miles southeast of Mosul was taken by ISIS in August, 2014 forcing all residents to flee, the town was largely destroyed with all of the churches burned or heavily damaged. The town stayed under ISIS control last week when it was liberated during the Mosul Offensive.

 

Damaged prints of Jesus are seen inside the burnt and destroyed interior of the St Mary al-Tahira church on November 8, 2016 in Qaraqosh, Iraq. The NPU is a military organization made up of Assyrian Christians and was formed in late 2014 to defend against ISIS. Qaraqosh, a largely Assyrian City just 22 miles southeast of Mosul was taken by ISIS in August, 2014 forcing all residents to flee, the town was largely destroyed with all of the churches burned or heavily damaged. The town stayed under ISIS control last week when it was liberated during the Mosul Offensive.

Get a preview of Clarion Project’s upcoming film, Faithkeepers, about the violent persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. The film features exclusive footage and testimonials of Christians, Baha’i, Yazidis, Jews, and other minority refugees, and a historical context of the persecution in the region.