Burying Iraqi Christians Under The Shadow Of ISIS

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Iraqi Christians face horrors everyday. They brave guns, bombs, mortar and many other dilemmas. Many fear this might be the end of Christianity in the region. ISIS has made sure entire towns in the region are annihilated.

People now think their dead might be the only legacy they have left. On 26th June a pickup came out of a church in the Assyrian Catholic town of Alqush. In it is the wooden coffin of Tawetha Batrus Ngara. She is a 70 year old who had moved to Lebanon four months ago. She is now to be buried in the birth place Iraq.

“We as a church ask the people not to leave this land. Don’t immigrate. This is our heritage, this is our country,” says Father Rani Hana, the 55-year-old parish priest of Telaskof’s Catholic St. George Church, speaking to The Daily Beast on the morning of the Ngara funeral. The stout, round-faced Hana has been a priest in the area since the 1980s. Despite the scorching Iraqi summer heat, he has donned full black vestments for the upcoming ceremony.

Ngara was buried in a shallow grave and the ceremonial rites took less than 15 minutes, fearing an attack by militants in the region.

The grave will soon be destroyed by ISIS but locals believe anyone who dies in a foreign land must be brought back to Iraq for burial.

Villagers are still hopeful things will change for the better,