MOSUL (IRAQ), A Christmas service at a church in the Iraqi city of Mosul has taken place for the first time since militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS) were driven out of the region.

Under DAesh the public performance of any Christian rituals was dangerous and difficult.

Many Christians fled persecution, with Daesh forcing worshippers to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death.

Iraqi forces defeated Daesh in Mosul in July.

Earlier this month, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the three-year campaign to expel
daesh from Iraq had been successful.

During the service, armoured vehicles sat outside Saint Paul’s church and, inside, white sheets covered up bombed-out window frames.

The patriarch of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Raphael Sako, requested that followers pray for “peace and stability in Mosul, Iraq and the world”.

Farqad Malko, a Christian, who returned to the city after the defeat of Daesh, said the service was “important to relaunch Christian life”.

Saint Paul’s is the only functioning church in Mosul, and is only open thanks to the efforts of volunteers.

Before the advance of Daesh in 2014, church leaders estimated Mosul had a Christian community of 35,000


Source: NAM News Network