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“The church is the fruit of the work and contributions of people’s fathers and grandfathers. Every Christian here feels that the church is part of their blood, their history and their heritage.”
Numbering about 1 million in the days before the first Gulf War, the [Christian] community has since been decimated by war, economic turmoil and jihadism.
“The international community must take immediate and decisive action to tackle the problems which are threatening the continuing Christian presence in Iraq.”
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako said the country’s medical services, still shattered after the 2003 collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime, are already in crisis, with coronavirus cases topping 5,000.
“[Christ] managed to resurrect the dead and heal all kinds of disease. Our belief in him is great. He can end our crisis. And perhaps these difficult circumstances will reconcile us with God.”
“Personally, I am optimistic regarding the future of the Christians on the Nineveh Plains and in Iraq. Through education and cultural dialogue, we can overcome obscurantism and violence.”
In addition to having lost their faith in the future, in the authorities and in a number of their Muslim neighbors—who had initially welcomed ISIS with open arms— Christians are now facing a very precarious economic situation.
“Even if the situation is not very clear, we see the importance of a sign of hope. ACN is determined to help the Christians to stay. Our task is to stand by the people who would like to come back.”
“There is no justice or equality for Christians here; unemployment rates are high here, too. And the ISIS occupation has left a legacy of distrust between Christians and Muslims in the region.”