- Title: First church service held in the recaptured Iraqi town of Bashiqa
- Date: 9th November 2016
- Summary: BASHIQA, IRAQ (NOVEMBER 09, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PESHMERGA ARMORED CONVOY DRIVING THROUGH THE TOWN SOLDIERS STANDING ON ARMORED CAR / KURDISH FLAG STREET/RUBBLE DAMAGED STORE FRONT VARIOUS OF DAMAGED BUILDINGS IN TOWN/RUBBLE EXTERIOR OF THE MART SHMONI CHURCH PEOPLE IN CHURCH COURTYARD DAMAGED FACADE ON TOP OF CHURCH SIGN READING (Arabic): SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCH, FOUNDED IN 1856 DAMAGE INTERIOR OF CHURCH VARIOUS OF EXPLOSIVE BELT ON CHAIR IN CHURCH PEOPLE PRAYING IN THE CHURCH VARIOUS OF DAMAGED PICTURE OF JESUS IN CHURCH (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FATHER DANIAL BENYAM, SAYING: "We are sending a message to the world, asking them to look at this vast destruction. If you want Christians to remain here, you must extend a helping hand in rebuilding our areas so we can be able to return. Otherwise we will be unable to come back here, because of all the destruction that has been caused here." VARIOUS OF PRIESTS AND BISHOPS PRAYING IN CHURCH CLOSE OF FATHER DANIAL BENYAM DANIAL CROSS WORN BY ONE PRIEST MAN HOLDING BIBLES CHURCH BELL TOLLING
- Embargoed: 24th November 2016 14:36
- Keywords: Iraq Bashiqa Church Christians Islamic State Mosul
- Location: BASHIQA, IRAQ
- City: BASHIQA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00157Q70HZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Christian worshippers returned to pray at a Syriac Catholic church on Wednesday (November 9) in the recaptured town of Bashiqa, east of Mosul.
Church bells rang out across Bashiqa after the 2,000-strong forces of Peshmerga drove out the militants from the town, which lies on the Nineveh plains some 15 km (10 miles) from Mosul.
Father Danial Benyam, one of the priests who returned to the town, pleaded for international aid to rebuild the devastated town and its Christian community.
"We are sending a message to the world, asking them to look at this vast destruction. If you want Christians to remain here, you must extend a helping hand in rebuilding our areas so we can be able to return. Otherwise we will be unable to come back here, because of all the destruction that has been caused here," he said.
Islamic State has targeted religious communities and their worship sites both Iraq and Syria. When it seized control of Mosul two years ago it issued an ultimatum to Christians: pay a tax, convert to Islam, or die by the sword.
In Syria, most left their homes in the IS-held areas and fled toward the autonomous Kurdish region, abandoning one of Christianity's earliest centers.
Christianity in northern Iraq dates back to the first century AD. The number of Christians fell sharply during the violence which followed the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the Islamic State takeover of Mosul two years ago purged the city of Christians for the first time in two millennia.
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