Archon News

Iraq: Christians still fearing insecurity

After years of strife, by 2014 it was reported that 90% of the Orthodox Christians of Iraq had been displaced. Most of them are still refugees and have been unable to return home. Still others who remained are leaving now.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Iraq, click here.

“Christians in Iraq still fearing insecurity,” Shafaq News, March 6, 2024:

Shafaq News/ Three years after Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Iraq, Chaldean Archbishop Michael Najeeb of Mosul and Aqra, says to Vatican News that the fruits of that historic visit are slowly beginning to show in the Muslim-majority nation, despite ongoing difficulties for Christians.

On March 5, 2021 Pope Francis embarked for his historic Apostolic Journey to Iraq, marking the first visit of a Pontiff to the Middle Eastern nation.

During his four-day stay the Pope visited Baghdad, as well as the Plain of Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, and the cities of Najaf, Nassiriya, Erbil, Mosul, and Qaraqosh, where he met with Christian communities, and political and religious leaders.

The central aim of the journey was to bring his closeness and spiritual support to the dwindling Christian communities in Iraq, still reeling from four years of persecution by the so-called Islamic State group (ISIS), and to encourage interreligious dialogue and understanding.

In a country of around 40 million people, the Christian population has been steadily declining for decades, from around 1.4 million in 2003 to about 250,000 today.

Archbishop Najeeb explained that, though Pope Francis brought them comfort and encouraged expatriated Iraqi Christians to resettle following the military defeat of ISIS in 2017, many still hesitate, and several families even continue to emigrate from the Nineveh Plain and Iraqi Kurdistan, due to ongoing insecurity.

He detailed that Christians in the region continue to endure intimidation and potential violence from local militias fighting each other, and that most of their houses which were destroyed during the ISIS occupation are still in rubble. “These families don’t want to restart their life in a place that is still unsafe for them and that the government can’t control”….

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