Christians Branded before Death or Exile: the Arabic letter for “n” – Nazarene

by Steve Ray on August 5, 2014

Branded: Nazarene (CNA Catholic News Association)

nunsymbolHave you seen this symbol?

This is the arabic letter “nun,” the first letter in the word “Nazarene.”

In Mosul, Iraq, it has been painted on doors to identify the homes of Christians who are then brutally beaten and often executed.

A militant Sunni organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been steadily attacking cities and communities in north and northwestern Iraq since June. The attacks have divided Iraq along religious and ethnic lines.

On Friday, July 18, ISIS issued an ultimatum to the Christians of the city of Mosul, which it captured more than a month ago: convert to Islam, pay the jizya (a tax on non-Muslims), or be killed.

“They control the city and I think they made it very clear that there is no place for non-Muslims in the city,” Archbishop Warda said.

The cross a top the city’s Syriac Orthodox cathedral was removed. Thousands of Christians have fled the country.

Bashar Nasih Behnam, 52, spoke with the Guardian about the last Christians remaining.

“There is not a single Christian family left in Mosul,” Behnam said. “The last one was a disabled Christian woman. She stayed because she could not get out. They came to her and said you have to get out and if you don’t we will cut off your head with a sword. That was the last family.”

In a move of solidarity with our persecuted brothers and sisters, many Christians are changing their facebook and Twitter profile pictures to this symbol.

Certainly a picture can never replace the power of prayer. But the symbol can serve as a reminder for us to pray for our fellow Christians in the Middle East and throughout the world who are suffering grave injustices because of their faith.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Williams August 20, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Let’s paint this on our front doors. Stand proud and defiant to be a Christian. I stand with my Chaldean Catholic neighbors.

John Kanty August 23, 2014 at 1:43 PM

awesome idea! also try to organize a prayer rally and go to the website to donate and help.

Sue Conolly August 23, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Anyone know where I can buy a wristband with this symbol? It would be a great show of solidarity plus a reminder to pray for the persecuted!

Dave Ramsey October 24, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Why not simply a Christian Cross, why use their jihadist label? I don’t do Arabic symbolism.

Arlene March 23, 2015 at 12:26 PM

Sue Conolly, if you’ve not yet found a wristband, my parish priest has started an organization to raise funds to send overseas to support Christians there. He has a website, and you can order a wristlet there:

janet hughey April 26, 2015 at 3:20 PM

My pastor has a pin like this that he wears on his lapel. Does anyone know where I can get one? I would like to show my solidarity!

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