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“More Christians have been fleeing Iraq in recent months than ever before,” Mission Network News reports.

4/14/2011 Iraq (Mission Network News) – More Christians have been fleeing Iraq in recent months than ever before.

Carl Moeller with Open Doors USA says extremists are calling for the complete extermination of believers in the country.

“We’ve been calling this a ‘religicide’–which is the systematic destruction and elimination of a religious group simply for being that religious group. And we see this now unfolding in a very shocking way,” says Moeller.

The number of Christians in Iraq has dropped dramatically in the last few decades, dropping from 850,000 believers in 1991, to 550,000 believers in 2003, to 345,000 believers in early 2010. Now perhaps less than 250,000 Christians call Iraq home, a number which includes those who have been permanently displaced from their homes.

The loss of so many believers in just a year can be attributed in part to one significant event: “Last October 31, 60 Christians were killed in a terrorist attack by al-Qaeda-linked groups at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad,” Moeller reminds us. As a result, “We’ve now seen an additional perhaps up to 95,000 Christians leave the country since that attack.”

At the current rate of the exodus, Iraq will not have any Christians left in three years, according to an Open Doors’ field worker.

To some, it might seem outlandish to suggest that an entire religious population would be wiped out from a nation, but believers have reason to fear the threat of total extermination. “Their families are threatened. Even young children are being killed. Extremists want to eliminate Christians from Iraq,” said Moeller in a recent Open Doors report.

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