ASIA/IRAQ - The Church of St. Ephrem in Mosul could soon be transformed into a mosque

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Mosul (Agenzia Fides) - In the northeastern city of Mosul, Iraq, since June in the hands of the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS), the Syrian Orthodox church dedicated to St. Ephrem has been emptied and there are rumors that the Christian place of worship could be turned into a mosque. Photographs, widespread online from the website www. show the pews and other furnishings removed from the church and placed as a commodity for sale in front of the place of worship.
According to information circulating on social networks, it is clear that militants of the Islamic State are preparing to transform the church into a mosque. Other sources contacted by Agenzia Fides interpret the looting of the furnishings of St. Ephrem in another way: the jihadists of IS, foreseeing an imminent military offensive to free Mosul, are intensifying raids in public and private buildings before preparing resistance.
The militiamen of the Caliphate as early as July had chosen the church of St. Ephrem as the seat of the State Council of the mujahideen. The towering cross on the dome had been removed. On September 9, the air raids carried out to hit the posts of the self-styled jihadist Islamic Caliphate had seriously damaged some buildings adjacent to the churches of St. Ephrem and the Syrian Catholic dedicated to St. Paul, also located in the so-called "police district". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 04/11/2014)