SHAFAQNA – MARWAN’S ACTION REPRESENTS THE SUPPORT AND CONCERN THAT THE GREATER MUSLIM COMMUNITY HAS FOR THE PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ. An Iraqi Muslim built a cross out of two pieces of metal, sending a message that Iraqi Muslims don’t stand for extremist Islamic ideology and that they support the Christians of the nation. The man, Marwan, fashioned the cross during a visit to one of the churches that was destroyed by Daesh. Marwan’s aim was to echo the unvoiced message that numerous Muslims wanted to send their Christian friends – a message of encouragement and support.
Marwan’s action has been shared on Instagram through a video post uploaded by a faith-oriented charity organization working in Iraq, the Preemptive Love Coalition (PLC). The co-founder and executive director, Jeremy Courtney, who posted the video on Instagram, said when Marwan entered the destroyed structure, he was aghast at the atrocities of the terrorists and refused to accept that such carnage was wreaked by Muslims. Marwan also condemned the act by ISIS for “the signs and the icons of his Christian friends, his Christian compatriots, his Christian neighbors.” Marwan’s refusal to accept that Daesh militants who destroyed the lives of Christians in Iraq are Muslims highlights the fact Muslims all over the world have been trying to make – not all Muslims are terrorists. A number of famous Muslim figures, including political and religious leaders as well as clerics have publicly denounced Daesh and declared their actions as being “un-Islamic.” This is also reminiscent of the words of non-Muslim figures such as the Pope and the Dalai Lama, who also insisted that Daesh does not represent Islam at all. Arrests made of terror suspects and investigations of missing Muslim men have brought to light that many of the militants are Muslims who aren’t really aware about their religion. In fact, estimates suggest a very large number of these militants don’t even come from religious backgrounds. A number of Muslims in Iraq itself protested against Daesh and showed their support for the persecuted Christian community. Last Christmas, a Muslim businessman erected Baghdad’s largest Christmas tree in a show of solidarity with the persecuted community. Although ISIS has been largely driven away from cities that were once in their control, it looks like the Christians who ran away from the country may not return to their homeland. The persecution by Daesh brought the Christian population down from 1.5 million to a mere 200,000.