Nun (ن), the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet (the equivalent of letter N in our Roman alphabet), is the first letter of the word Nasara (نصارى : Nazarenes), the way Muslims have called Christians since the beginning of their invasion of the Christian world in the 7th century -- Christians under Muslim rule never called themselves thus, since the intent of Muslims was to portray Christians as a contemptible and disobedient sect.
It is the same name of the equivalent letter (נ) in the Hebrew alphabet (also a Semitic language), and it reminds us of the words of Jeremiah, also crying for an exile of his people sent to Mesopotamia:
Nun. The yoke of my iniquities hath watched: they are folded together in his hand, and put upon my neck: my strength is weakened: the Lord hath delivered me into a hand out of which I am not able to rise. (Lamentations, 1)
In their genocidal physical elimination of Christians from the Mesopotamian city of Mosul, Muslim terrorists marked each Christian-owned institution and building with this letter, for the extermination of holdouts and expropriation of their belongings:
They mean it as a mark of shame, we must then wear it as a mark of hope: Yes, we are in the army of the Resurrected Nazarene, the Master and Lord of the Universe, the Man who is God Almighty, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. You may kill our brethren and expel them, but we Christians will never go away.
The world's top Islamic body denounced Monday the persecution of Christians in Iraq's second city Mosul as an "intolerable crime," and offered to help those displaced by a jihadist offensive. Organization of Islamic Cooperation secretary general Iyad Madani said the "forced displacement" of Mosul's Christians showed the IS' "practices have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for tolerance and co-existence."
"These atrocities also contradict the principles of the OIC," of which Iraq is a member, Madani added, noting that the body was "ready to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to displaced persons until they be able to return to their homes." At the weekend, hundreds of families fled Mosul, abandoning homes and belongings after IS fighters running the city issued an ultimatum for Christians to convert, pay a special tax, leave or face execution. [Link]
BEIRUT: Palestinian mothers weep over the bodies of children, whose expressionless faces indicate their untimely fate. Israeli rockets strike three-story buildings, turning homes into rubble. These were the images broadcast across all eight Lebanese television channels Monday, in what may be the world's first unified news bulletin in support of Gaza.
It was definitely the first time in the Arab world, and constituted a surprising move such highly partisan local media outlets. Regardless, Tele Liban, LBC, MTV, Al-Manar, Al-Jadeed, NBN, Future TV, and OTV broadcast a common report for their nightly newscasts to voice solidarity with Gaza against the Israeli offensive, which began approximately two weeks ago. The program, titled “Palestine, you are not alone,” began at exactly 8:10 p.m., and lasted for almost half an hour. It opened and ended with a patriotic poem by the iconic Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. [Link]
By Dominic Evans and Raheem Salman, BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The head of Iraq's largest church said on Sunday that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who ransacked medieval Baghdad.
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako led a wave of condemnation for the Sunni Islamists who demanded Christians either convert, submit to their radical rule and pay a religious levy or face death by the sword. At the Vatican, Pope Francis decried what he said was the persecution of Christians in the birthplace of their faith, while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Islamic State's actions could constitute a crime against humanity.
Hundreds of Christian families left Mosul ahead of Saturday's ultimatum, many of them stripped of their possessions as they fled for safety. They formed the remnants of a community which once numbered in the tens of thousands and traced its presence in Mosul to the earliest years of Christianity.
People of other faiths in the once diverse city, including Shi'ites, Yazidis and Shabaks, have also fled from the ultra-conservative militants, who have blown up mosques and shrines and seized property of fleeing minorities. "The heinous crime of the Islamic State was carried out not just against Christians, but against humanity," Sako told a special church service in east Baghdad where around 200 Muslims joined Christians in solidarity. "How in the 21st century could people be forced from their houses just because they are Christian, or Shi'ite or Sunni or Yazidi?" he asked. "Christian families have been expelled from their houses and their valuables were stolen and ...their houses and property expropriated in the name of the Islamic State."
BEIRUT: Despite reports that the government had renewed its interest in rebuilding the rail line between Beirut and Tabarja, the closest anyone is likely to come to buying a ticket is still an evening drinking $9 vodka tonics at an exclusive bar that opened recently in the historical Mar Mikhael train station.
“This is one of the pieces of evidence that the government is not working to bring back the railways,” said Elias Maalouf, founder of the rail advocacy organization Train Train, who opposes the Central Station bar. “They are disrespecting the heritage of the station. They have installed a DJ booth in an old locomotive; it’s one of only five [of its kind] left in the world.”
Just days after the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria said they killed hundreds of Syrians, dozens of Iraqi Christian families are now fleeing the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul, hoping to avoid a similar fate.
On Friday, the al Qaeda splinter group issued an ultimatum to Iraqi Christians living in Mosul -- by Saturday at noon (5 a.m. ET), they must convert to Islam, pay a fine or face "death by the sword."
A total of 52 Christian families left the city of Mosul early Saturday morning, with an armed group prohibiting some of them from taking anything but the clothes on their backs.
"They told us, 'You to leave all of your money, gold, jewelry and go out with only the clothes on you,'" Wadie Salim told CNN. [Link]