Syrian Orthodox church of St Ephrem to become 'mosque of the mujahideen'

One of the largest churches in Mosul is to be be transformed into a mosque.

According to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Islamic State militants posted notices throughout Iraq’s second city announcing that the Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Ephrem, which they emptied last summer, will reopen soon as the “mosque of the mujahideen” or jihad fighters.

The news came just before the one-year anniversary of the capture of Mosul by Islamic State fighters June 10.

Fides said the terrorists’ intention to convert the church into a mosque became clear when they removed the cross from the church’s dome, chose the adjacent buildings to house the headquarters of their “state council” last July, and emptied the church of its furnishings and put them on sale in November.

Mosul, located in northern Iraq, was once Iraq’s second-largest city with a significant Christian population with a continuous history there since the second century. The city is now empty of Christians. Thousands have sought refuge in Irbil in Iraq’s Kurdish region; an unknown number of Christians have been killed.