Their community has suffered murder, crucifixion, rape, kidnapping, theft, special taxation and intimidation under the fierce hand of the Islamic State group.
Now, Iraqi and Syrian Christians are getting a flood of moral support from around the world from those who are taking the symbol of their oppression in order to express solidarity.
One way to say Christian in Arabic is “Nasrani,” that is, one who believes in Jesus of Nazareth. Reports emerging from the towns populated for generations by Christians suggest that Islamic State jihadists have spray painted some homes to mark them as once inhabited by Christians using the Arabic letter ن, which sounds like “noon,” and is the first letter of the word “Nasrani” in Arabic.
Supporters of Middle East Christians say the branding of the homes with red paint is reminiscent of Jews being forced to wear yellow stars under Nazi Germany and are now adopting the symbol of persecution to support Middle East Christians.
The Twitter hashtags #WeAreN and #IAmNasrani are places the symbol is being posted to ensure that Iraqi and Syrian Christians are not forgotten. Some people have changed their profile photos to display the N symbol.
One woman posted this message on Instagram along with the N symbol, "#IAmNasrani #weareN #praying for my brothers and sisters in Iraq who are being harassed, hounded, and murdered for their love of the one true God. You are not alone, Jesus is with you and we are praying for you."
"Please say a prayer today for persecuted Christians and minorities in Muslim countries," wrote a woman named Sandra on Twitter.
The Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based research organization which warns against the spread of shariah law, is selling an Arabic N lapel pin and is asking the public to “Help make this symbol of oppression into a sign of resistance and solidarity with the oppressed.”
Euro News reported that the first time the N letter was reclaimed was during a church service in east Baghdad in July. The service was attended by Christian worshipers and some 200 Muslims, according to the reports, holding signs stating “I am Iraqi, I am Christian.” Others marked themselves with the Arabic N letter.
Iraqis holds up a banner with the red letter ‘N’ in Arabic, which stands for Christian, during a demonstration on July 24, 2014, against the threat imposed by the Islamic State (IS) jihadists against Christians in northern Iraq, outside the UN office in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region. (Photo: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)
In Mosul in Iraq, Christians have reportedly been given the choice of converting to Islam, accepting a second-class status and pay a special protection tax or be killed. Most chose to flee.
Islamic State militants have begun seizing the assets of the Christians who fled, Agence France-Presse reported last week, noting that jihadists have even forced Muslim business partners of Christians to hand over the portion of their businesses belonging to the absentee owners.
A Lebanese television station in August added the Arabic letter to its name to express solidarity with the persecuted minority, the Christian Post reported.
LBCI anchor Dima Sadeq wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the letter to show her support for Iraqi Christians.
"From Mosul to Beirut, we are all Noon," Sadeq said during her broadcast. "We are all targets of murder in this insane era. The era of radicals, dictatorships and Israel's hatred. Only here are children killed on beaches, churches closed down, mosques raided, shrines of prophets destroyed."