Fr. Benedict Kiely is the founder of Nasaren.org —a charity for persecuted Christians. In an interview with the “Register” News Agency, he talked about his visit to the Nineveh Plain, the difficulties that Christians have to face there every day, and about the importance of help from the US.
Although ISIS may be practically gone in northern Iraq, the local Christians must face another challenge: the Shabak— a Shia group that is subtly pushing Christians out of their towns on the Nineveh Plain.
Fr. Benedict Kiely travelled to Iraq in early January, to accurately assess this latest threat, and to help the local people.
He visited Bartella, Qaraqosh, and Karamlesh. These lands were liberated from ISIS in 2017, but according to Fr. Kiely, local Christians are still not safe.
In his interview with the “Register” on the 9th of January, he talked about the importance of a police presence in the region, and on the significance of the US’s help.
He believes that the biggest problem for Christians is the constant fighting of Kurds and Iraqis on the Nineveh Plain. Furthermore, this territory is under Shia control, who are doing their best to abolish Christianity from the towns.
Political control is yet another difficulty because the Shabak group have more members. Christians no longer have political power and are now a minority on councils or other sectors of local government. Unless the Iraqi government orders the Shia militias to leave, then there is no future for Christians in the Nineveh Plain.
While recently there have been many positive changes in the Christian town, clergy believe that Christians are still discriminated against.
On the question of what could the USA still do in favour of Christians in the Nineveh Plain, Fr Kiely said that the US has the force and the money to exert strong political pressure on the Iraqi government to deal with this situation. He remarked that the US president, Donald Trump needs to put his power to good use.
Finally, Fr Kiely asked every Christian to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters in Nineveh.
Source: National Catholic Register