Islamic State militants tore down the cross from the Assyrian Orthodox church in Bashiqa, Nineveh in 2016.
Publish date : 3/7/2021
Publish Time : 09:25:00
The cross that was on the ground for two years due to ISIS, was put back in its place by Peshmerga forces.
Ahmad Hussein is a Zeravani Peshmerga who participated in returning the cross to where it was originally. He talks about a day when after chasing ISIS away, amid all the danger, they raised the cross at Bashiqa’s great church to preserve the dignity of the Christians.
“It was empty, no one was here, we came and took it,” Hussein said of the cross. “We came here and put the cross on the church with our Christian brothers. They are also our brothers – it makes no difference whether they are Sunni, Christian, or of any other religion.”
After the cross was put back on the church, Peshmerga fighters rang its bell, and its sound once again filled the air.
“Even though there were bombs planted in the church and it had been destroyed, we went there and put the cross on top of the church and rang its bell of peace and coexistence,” said head of Zeravani intelligence Brigadier General Bahjat Selki.
ISIS destroyed all their churches, burnt all their crosses and religious symbols, and left over 30 churches in Mosul and 43 in the Nineveh Plains destroyed.
In February 2020, during his visit to the Vatican, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region gifted the pope a portrait of Peshmerga forces returning the cross to Bashiqa’s church.
Some of the churches in Bashiqa have not been renovated, and the lack of security and stability in Nineveh province has caused three quarters of the Christians who were displaced to the Kurdistan Region to not return to their homes.