“Muslims are buying Christmas trees among other related goods. The shops are frequented by both the poor and the rich,” Hussein told Al-Monitor, stressing that “Muslims love to share this holiday season with their compatriots” and the “injustices done to the Christians are not caused by Muslims but by those who hate Iraq. Muslims love to share this holiday season with their compatriots” and the “injustices done to the Christians are not caused by Muslims but by those who hate Iraq,” he continued.
Another Muslim who had come to the mall for shopping said: “This is the most joyful time of the year. We do not need proof of coexistence. We are one people. We like to celebrate Christmas like the rest of the Islamic holidays.”
Christian and Muslim clerics are also taking part in the different occasions and events organized in order to celebrate Christmas. Similarly several Muslim politicians have also attended events in churches held in order to mark Christmas.
While remarking in this regard, Walim Warda, the coordinator at the Hammurabi human rights organization stated: “If things continue down this path and the authorities fail to provide guarantees and protection for Assyrians and Chaldeans in Iraq, they will eventually leave the country.”
“IS, which committed atrocities against Christians, displacing and killing them, is not the only reason they are leaving the country. It is also partly because of the government’s policies, as parliament did not respond to minorities’ demands to amend Article 26 of the National ID law, which stipulates that minors become Muslims should one of their parents convert to Islam,” he continued.
Amid massive exodus of Christians from Iraq, Pastor of St. Joseph Church in Baghdad, Monsignor Pius Kasha, stated: “Christian clerics are calling on Christians to remain in the country, as they are one of the main components of Iraq.” He continued that he will renew his call that Christians should stay in their ancestral lands.
“IS atrocities left Christians frightened of living in Iraq; [they] now believe it is no longer safe for them to stay here,” he said while adding, “IS was not the only one to treat Christians as war spoils and to loot them; some neighbors did the same. How could they rob us?”
In this regard, Muslim cleric Raheem Abu Raghif stated: “We ought to rethink the religious sources in order to provide a nonviolent interpretation of them. We must build a new understanding of religion based on the principle of citizenship, rather than discriminating against citizens based on their religions.”