MOSUL: A church transformed into mosque by the Islamic State.
According to details, after the transformation of a church dedicated to St. Ephrem into a mosque now the Chaldean Church of the city dedicated to St. Joseph has been transformed into a mosque. The ISIS militants have painted the dome of the church building black while the Cross at the top has been removed. Moreover, all Christian symbols and images have been eliminated. The new mosque is named after an ISIS commander Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, an Iraqi commander who was killed by Iraqi police.
This was a historic church in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city however in recent years, down to the decrease of priests and the congregation mass is celebrated only once a month. ISIS had declared its Caliphate in Mosul soon after its capture and as a result all the Christians in the city were forced to flee. At the moment, many of them live as refugees in Ankawa, a suburb in Erbil.
Fides Paul Mekko, a Chaldean priest from Mosul says, “the military operations on a large scale would begin after the end of Ramadan. In fact, it seems these days that an offensive to regain ground in the province of al-Anbar and release Ramadi has begun”.
In the intervening time, the Chaldean Patriarchate sold some of the vehicles owned by the archdiocese which were lying unused in garages. He fears with time theses cars would have lost lose value. The income from the sale which amounted about 60 thousand dollars was paid into the bank account of the archdiocese, hoping that the money would be used when peace prevails and the parishes of Mosul will “start afresh”.