The freedom to worship the deity or deities of our choosing in this country is a revered right. The same reverence is given to this right by those who do not wish to worship any being at all. In this land of liberty, it can be easy to forget that many others around the world do not always enjoy this right or if they do, it comes at great cost and constant vigilance.
In mid 2014, the city of Mosul, Iraq fell to ISIL militants. As they laid siege to the city and eventually took over, an act they were quick to undertake was to identify non-Muslim homes and businesses. They specifically targeted Mosul Christians descended from Assyrian converts in 1stand 2ndcentury AD and marked them for persecution or extermination. Ultimately, families were driven from their homes, local Mosul clergy were attacked, and people were robbed and beaten as they fled the city in July and August of 2014 simply because of their religion.
The symbol these fanatics used to target Christians was the Arabic letter “N” pronounced “noon” which the first letter of the Arabic word “Nasari” meaning “Nazarene” in English. The Islamists considered the word “Nasari” to be an insult or a term of shame.
Fortunately for the Christians of Mosul, this letter became a rallying cry for supporters and the Arabic symbol quickly went viral as people of all faith joined in solidarity to their plight. The letter “N” in Arabic became the image on many social media accounts and supporters would ink it on their hands, wear it on t-shirts, and other places. What the militants intended as a mark of shame became a mark of hope. What they tried to kill and suppress became larger than them and lives on today. (Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.)
Our patch captures the Arabic rendered letter “N” distinctly. It is a reminder of the value of our freedom in the United States and the plight of religiously persecuted people.