Friends and family gather outside the AME community funeral home © Diocese of Juína

By Rodrigo Arantes

(The month of November is devoted in particular to prayers for the deceased. What was supposed to be a work of mercy in the Amazonas region of Brazil became nothing more than a means of exploitation before the church stepped in to help the situation)

Sr Ilham stands in the burnt out shell of the convent © Jaco Klamer/ Aid to the Church in Need

By Jaco Klamer

Although Sr Ilham and her order suffered terrible losses when ISIS invaded Iraq, she manages to speak with an inspiring calmness: “None of us wanted to abandon our place - but as the attacks didn´t stop, we had to save our lives and flee,” reflects Sr. Ilham quietly. The 57 year old Dominican nun was serving in a Mosul church when the rapid advance of ISIS forced her and the community to flee taking only what they could carry. Today she serves those remaining IDP’s in the Christian city of Telleskuf in northern Iraq’s Nineveh Plains. 

A SENIOR Iraqi priest refused to leave Teleskov, northern Iraq – even after military forces gathered there for battle. Chaldean cleric Father Salar Kajo and nine Church workers remained in the Christian-majority town on the Nineveh Plains, around 19 miles north of Mosul, despite Iraqi and Peshmerga armies amassing there over the last 48 hours. All other inhabitants left Teleskov on Tuesday 24th October after mortar shells landed in the town, injuring three children. Both Kurdish and Iraqi forces are aware of the presence of Father Kajo and his team. 

“I really want to go back to the city of my birth, Baghdeda (Qaraqosh),” says a smiling Majid Shaba (45), who runs a fast food establishment in Erbil. “When ISIS invaded Baghdeda I had to leave the city, in which I was in charge of a fast food restaurant, Chefcity. I didn’t leave my city out of my own free will. My new restaurant in Erbil has been doing reasonably well, but you simply cannot compare life in Erbil to life in Qaraqosh: it is not a good alternative. That’s why I want to return to Baghdeda, to the Nineveh plains: I was born there, I want to live and die there. Baghdeda (Qaraqosh) is my city.” 

“With my faith I can endure anything”

Sudan’s tiny Christian flock is being swelled by refugees from Eritrea   

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