Heartless Enemy in Iraq: 'They Hate Christians'

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For nearly 2,000 years the Iraq city of Mosul has been home to a thriving Christian community. Now, the terrorist group known as Islamic State (IS) has driven nearly all of them out.

In the meantime, fears abound that the few remaining Christians could become martyrs.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki condemned the attacks on believers, saying they have been exposed to violent acts that have never been witnessed before in Iraq.

Last week, the Islamist group gave Christians three choices: convert to Islam, pay the jizyah tax required of non-Muslims or face execution.

IS insurgents stole nearly everything from the Christians they threatened to kill.

"They were stripped of all their possessions -- their houses, which were stamped Nazarene, meaning Christian, and then stamped again, saying property of the Islamic State; their cars; even their wedding rings sometimes with their fingers attached if the rings wouldn't come off," Nina Shea director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute told CBN News.

**What can you do to help these Christians in Iraq? Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom answers this and more below:

An official with the Nineveh governor's office said only 25 Christian families remain in Mosul. Al-Maliki pledged to protect the Christians, but so far his government has been helpless.

Shea said the Christians are facing a heartless enemy.

"They hate Christians. The villages that they have not conquered on the Nineveh area surrounding Mosul -- they have turned off their water. It's 120 degrees there today. They said to them, 'You don't deserve water,'" she said.

Meanwhile, the jihadists are not only targeting believers; they're also destroying all traces of Christianity in the area.

Video has surfaced showing Islamists destroying the tombs of biblical prophets Jonah and Seth.

"They have also captured ancient monasteries from the 4th century," Shea said. "And they are burning the ancient early Christian manuscripts. These are priceless for the heritage of Christianity.

And then there's the refugee crisis.

U.N. officials say around 2 million refugees and internally displaced people from Iraq and Syria reside in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan.

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Mark Martin

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.