Christianity Fears Extinction in Wake of ISIS’ Desolation
10/25/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria has experienced a sharp decline, according to a recent report compiled by Aid to the Church in Need, spanning the period of 2017 to 2019.
However, it is sharply marked by the realization that more than 90% of Iraq’s Christian population has disappeared from the country since 2003. Even more jarring is that within the same time frame, Mosul lost 99% of its Christian population. ISIS has devastated the lands of the Nineveh Plains during its extensive preeminence there, and the lasting impression they have made upon the demographics of the area is correspondingly severe.
The Christians of North Iraq, largely belonging to the old Syriac Rite’s constituent denominational groups, which have been native to the area for well-over a millennium, have suffered tremendously under the weight and repression of the Islamic State. The Church is beginning to fare better in the core of Upper Iraq, and is the only location of high concern listed where any major net upturns in the Church’s fortune have been made manifest.
As ISIS has been largely repulsed from the region, some Christians native to the area, albeit less than a third of all who lived there originally, are trickling back to reestablish their presence on the Iraqi cultural landscape. This is not to say that the return of Christianity in some numbers to the area is set in stone however. A resurgence on the part of ISIS and other militant groups in the area could instigate the removal of the last noteworthy Christian populations in North Iraq and Syria.
Much work remains to be done to pull the Church together across the region and gird it up, insofar as such a postulation is possible, against future attacks by Islamic extremism. With proper security however, Christianity can continue to flourish in Nineveh and Erbil.
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