Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Iraqi Christians suffer ‘paralyzing fear,’ Archbishop of Baghdad reports

ICC Note

Though the violence has declined in Iraq , the Iraqi Christians still face persecution and want to leave the country. Iraqi government officials should ensure the freedom of worship for Christians and provide them enough protection against attacks and persecutions.

10/03/2008 Iraq (CNA).- Jean Sleiman, the Latin-rite Archbishop of Baghdad, recently spoke to an Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) event in Westminster, England, saying a “paralyzing fear” still grips Iraq’s Christian communities. The archbishop said “very real persecution” remains a threat alongside intense pressure to conform to rigorous Islamic standards, driving many Christians to leave the country.

The archbishop, a Lebanese Carmelite who pastors approximately 5,000 Latin-rite Catholics in Iraq, spoke of the situation in the country before a crowd of more than 400 at the Aid to the Church in Need UK’s annual Westminster Event this past Saturday.

Archbishop Sleiman said most Christians in Iraq still want to leave the country despite the decline of violence in and around Baghdad and the reconstruction efforts in Kurdish areas in the north. He said Baghdad , Mosul , and other regions remained hot-spots of persecution and violence against minority groups.

“Very real persecution” remains a huge threat for Christians in some areas, he explained. In other regions “co-existence under pressure” means that Christians are forced to adopt Islamic practices, including dress and veil-wearing. Christians are also pressured to leave.

He also criticized plans for a Christian “enclave” around the Nineveh Plains, saying the scheme only promotes “a ghetto.”

[Go to the Full Story]