By Rochesterhomepage.net, powered by 8 WROC
When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, captured Mosul, one of Iraq’s largest cities, militants began singling Christians out. The symbol that marked their homes and businesses — the Arabic letter “n,” which is pronounced “noon” and stands for Nazarene or Nasrani, the Arabic word for Christian — reportedly was a signal: convert, pay a tax or be killed. Many Christians fled.
Jeremy Courtney, who has lived in Iraq for almost eight years, decided to bring the world’s attention to what the militant group, whose radical views on Islam have been widely condemned by Muslims around the world, had been doing.
“Watching the homes of Christians be marked with this Arabic letter ‘n,’ marking them for extermination – I was just very moved and hurt in my soul and inspired to try and do something to awaken the emotions of people anywhere, everywhere to pay attention to this tragedy,” said Courtney, the founder and executive director of an international development organization called Preemptive Love Coalition, which provides life-saving heart surgeries to Iraqi children and aid for displaced families.
Courtney said he grabbed a marker in mid-July and marked his hand with the Arabic letter “n” to stand in solidarity with the Christians who were also being marked.
He posted the photo on Twitter with the hashtag #WeAreN.
“When I started the #WeAreN hashtag, I certainly didn’t know or envision that this was going to be a rallying cry for Christians and others around the word,” said Courtney.