The Christian community in Northern Iraq suffered significant attacks from the Islamic State when the insurgent group began its invasion of the area in 2014. On Jan. 14, however, Christians in Qaraqosh reasserted their place in the town by placing a statue of the Virgin Mary — carved by a local sculpter — at the top of the local Syrian church’s bell tower.
This place of worship is dear to local Christians. It was set on fire by the Islamic State group during their occupation, which started in August 2014, destroying all the Christian symbols it contained. But thanks to the efforts and commitment of the entire local community, the place of worship was rebuilt over the past few years.
“The bell tower of this church, the largest in the Nineveh Plain, was razed to the ground at the time of the liberation, with a missile or a bomb, we do not know exactly,” said Fr Paul Thabit Mekko, head of the local community, speaking to AsiaNews from Karamles, also in the Nineveh plain.
“Only a part of the old bell tower remained,” he explained. “We decided to place a statue of Our Lady on top of it, as we did two years ago in Karamles.”
The church in the town of Qaraqosh, a name used under the Ottoman Empire which Christians prefer to call by its Aramaic name, Bakhdida, is dedicated “to the Immaculate Conception, to the purest,” and for this reason “we decided to also put a statue when we started reconstruction.”
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