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ACN hopes that this new initiative will restore hope for Iraq’s remaining Christians—a battered and fragile mere 10 percent of the 1.5 million Christians living in the country prior to 2003, when the US invaded the country. The subsequent civil war saw the religiously motivated murder of at least 1,000 Christians.
“We appeal to the conscience of Iraqi officials to listen seriously to their people, who are complaining of the current miserable situation, the deterioration of services, and the spread of corruption.”
One of Iraq’s most prominent Christian leaders has deeper concerns. On the fifth anniversary of the ISIS invasion of northern Iraq, Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Catholic archdiocese of Erbil, Kurdistan, stresses that “Christianity in Iraq is perilously close to extinction.”
IN A COUNTRY where Christians have been subject to targeted bombings, kidnapping, and discrimination, Church leaders are grappling with a new crisis: an attempt to …
“We Christians are a people of hope. But facing the end also brings us clarity, and with it the courage to finally speak the truth. Our hope to remain in our ancient homeland now rests on our own ability, and the ability of our oppressors and of the world at large, to acknowledge the truth. Violence and discrimination targeting the innocents must end. Those who teach it must stop.”
FATHER DURAID Barber is a priest of the Syriac-Catholic Archdiocese of Mosul, Kirkuk and Kurdistan. Born and raised in Qaraqosh, a Christian town on the …
“However, we still lack the funds to complete the reconstruction of all the homes that were very badly damaged or completely destroyed; we are waiting and hoping that governments, like those of the United Kingdom and Hungary, will step in and help us on this front.”
The village was badly damaged during the fighting of recent years but the Christian community has returned—in large numbers. By now, 405 of the 580 homes that were destroyed in Bashiqa have already been rebuilt and about half of the Christians, or 1,585 people, have returned.
“We do not know if every family will return to the Nineveh Plains, but we do believe that all Christians have a duty to shape the identity of the region. We want to live on our land, and we ask that our people stand with us. We must preserve our identity and history for the sake of children of the diaspora—our enduring presence here must not be compromised.”
“As long as we have faith, there is no need to worry or fear. Whenever we encounter disaster, we grow closer to God, so we should never despair. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you and to share what is inside of me.”