Persecution of Christians in Iraq: after years of strife, by 2014 it was reported that 90% of the Orthodox Christians of the nation had been displaced. Most of them are still refugees and have been unable to return home. Still others who remained are leaving now. The tragedy of this cannot be overstated. Mosul and its environs were home for centuries to a Christian community that dated back to apostolic times. And this report demonstrates how difficult it is for the Church in Iraq to rebuild: “although Islamic State has been defeated, ‘Christians remain subject to threats, extortion, and intimidation,’ the report says. ‘These include the threats associated with ISIS, Iran-backed militias, and the heightened risk of a regional war between the U.S. and Iran, which could play out on Iraqi soil.'”
We must pray that the extinction of Christianity in Iraq can by God’s grace and mercy be averted.
For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Iraq, click here.
“New report says Iraqi Christians could face extinction,” by Doreen Abi Raad, Catholic Herald, July 8, 2020:
Without immediate action from the international community, Christians in northern Iraq could be endangered with extinction, warns a new report from the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need.
The report, “Life after ISIS: New Challenges for Christianity in Iraq,” is based on a survey of Christians in the liberated Ninevah Plains.
With anticipated emigration, ACN says the region’s Christian population could plummet to 23,000 within four years. That is a reduction of 80% from the months before the 2014 Islamic State invasion and would move the Christian community from the category of “vulnerable” to the critical category of “endangered with extinction,” the report states.
“The international community must take immediate and decisive action to tackle the problems which are threatening the continuing Christian presence in Iraq,” said Edward Clancy, director of outreach for Aid to the Church in Need-USA. “It is more important than ever that world leaders work together to prevent Christian numbers falling further in Iraq.”
ACN’s survey indicates that security and political reasons remain the primary driver of emigration.
According to the report, 87% of the Christians feel “unsafe or absolutely unsafe,” and 67% believe it is likely or very likely that Islamic State or a similar group will return in the next five years. Of those wishing to emigrate, 69% cite political and security reasons as the primary reason….
In the summer of 2014, more than 100,000 Christians were uprooted from their homes by ISIS, fleeing to the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.
After the liberation of the Ninevah Plains, in early 2017 Aid to the Church in Need launched what it calls a “modern-day Marshall Plan” to tackle the “mammoth task” of rebuilding Christian homes. ACN has since helped restore 2,860 damaged or destroyed Christian homes in six cities and villages on the Ninevah Plains. It now plans to focus on rebuild the infrastructure of church-run facilities.
By 2019, the number of returned displaced Christians was 36,000.
In its report, ACN suggests nongovernmental organizations, churches and governments seeking to improve the condition of Christians in Iraq should emphasize advocacy leading to the restoration of security in the Ninevah Plains. Foreign governments should exert pressure on the governments in Baghdad and Irbil, the report says.
Although Islamic State has been defeated, “Christians remain subject to threats, extortion, and intimidation,” the report says. “These include the threats associated with ISIS, Iran-backed militias, and the heightened risk of a regional war between the U.S. and Iran, which could play out on Iraqi soil.”…