The Saint Joseph Church (Mar Yousif Church), located in the western part of the city of Mosul, was used by ISIS militants as a military base and storage building for their weapons. It was also used to stored property that had been confiscated from local residents.
The Mar Yousif Church is located in an area that was populated predominantly by Christian residents. However, most of these residents are said to have fled the country in 2008.
Another church in the area was turned into a prison for people who violated the stringent laws set down by ISIS, such as laws prohibiting people from smoking.
One other church, a Chaldean Catholic Church, was an “important office for the authorities tasked with making sure (Mosul) residents had a beard, wore short robes and followed their extremist convictions”. All the artefacts and Christian symbols were removed from the church, as with the other ones.
Certain churches were almost completely destroyed as ISIS militants were facing imminent defeat in the face of the Iraqi Army’s liberation operations. One such church was in the district of Tel Keef in eastern Mosul, which had been used as a training ground before it was burned to the ground when ISIS militants fled the area as Iraqi troops advanced against them.
People in the area are still awaiting measures to be implemented to restore such churches in Mosul and across Iraq.
Aside from damage done to their places of worship, Christians were subject to abductions and violence on the part of ISIS militants. This treatment of Christians even extended to children.
Such places of worship and people, especially those that belonged to religions and sects that lay outside the totalitarian vision of ISIS, were desecrated, misused and abused by the terrorist group.
Christians were not the only ones to suffer at the hands of ISIS, but all other minorities fell foul to their totalitarian ideals.