Sister Maria Hanna, prioress of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraq, had a decision to make. The Islamic State’s killing campaign across the Nineveh Plain threatened the primarily Christian community of Qaraqosh outside of Mosul, Iraq, on Aug. 7, 2014. The peshmerga, security forces from the neighboring Kurdish region of Iraq, had been defending the area but were returning to Erbil. The roads were filled with Christian and Muslim families fleeing the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
In theory, “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” This is international law, protected in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In practice, religious persecution is on the rise.