June 6, 2017

LAST STAND FOR CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ: The disappearance of first Jews and now Christians from most parts of the Middle East means the termination of the historical Middle Eastern mosaic of peoples.

Despite periods of violence and persecution, coexistence between ethno-religious groups on the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq, Christians, Shabak, Yazidis and Kaka’i, has over the years been marked by pluralism and cooperation.

This coexistence also used to include Jews.

When I recently visited the town of Alqosh, where Jews and Christians lived together for a thousand years, I had the honor to visit the tomb of the biblical prophet Nahum. The last Jew leaving Alqosh 1948 left the keys to a Christian family. It was this very family that helped us visit the synagogue and the tomb upon my visit.

The disappearance of first Jews and now Christians from most parts of the Middle East means the termination of the historical Middle Eastern mosaic of peoples. The result will be a region rapidly going into a dark age – with no hope for peace and stability for a very long time.

A Middle East without Christians will no longer be able to rely on a group which for centuries has been able to act as a broker between ethnic or religious groups. The risk of irreconcilable conflicts between remaining groups will be even higher if and when Christians are gone forever.

Given the level of religious cleansing throughout the Islamic Middle East, I’m afraid that’s considered a feature, not a bug.