Iraqi Christian communities are being attacked, properties and sites of cultural interest seized by Iran-back military groups.
Lisa Daftari of Foreign Desk wrote that this was happening especially around Baghdad and that her information came from multiple sources including “Christian members of the Iraqi Parliament,” “Christian community leaders,” and the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.
“According to leaders, the seizures have been carried out in the upscale regions of Baghdad, where militia men have forced entry into homes and businesses with falsified documents,” wrote Daftari.
“Iraq’s Christians are considered to be one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, with their villages concentrated in Baghdad, Basra, Erbil and Kirkuk. The Assyrians had made the towns and regions around the Nineveh Plains in the north home, until IS forced them out.”
Iraqi Christians have faced a lot of persecution for their faith. In 2007, Chaldean Catholic priest Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni and sub deacons Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed were killed in the ancient city of Mosul. Six months later, the body of Paulos Faraj Rahho, archbishop of Mosul, was found buried near Mosul. He was kidnapped on 29 February 2008 when his bodyguards and driver were killed.
In 2010, reports emerged in Mosul of people being stopped in the streets, asked for their identity cards, and shot if they had a first or last name indicating Assyrian or Christian origin.
World Christian Persecution watchdog Open Doors has listed Iraq as the one of the worst countries for Christians. “Christians have lived in Iraq for two millennia but are currently on the verge of extinction.”
“Christians are caught here in the crossfire of two different battles: one for a Kurdish autonomous country and one for a religious cleansing of Iraq by Islamic terrorist groups who wish to make the country purely Islamic,” noted Open Doors.
“On the other hand, amidst the current crisis, there are also sparks of hope as opportunities arise for churches to reach out to refugees.”