08/03/2020 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – August marks the sixth anniversary of ISIS’ capture of Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, igniting the start of their genocide of against Christians and Yazidis. Hundreds of thousands of Christians and Yazidis were driven from their homes, with thousands more killed or enslaved.
Although ISIS was declared militarily defeated in late 2017, Christians and Yazidis remain deeply impacted by the trauma of genocide. Most emigrated. Those who remain in Iraq are afraid to return home and remain displaced. Hundreds of Yazidi women remain missing, presumably they remain sexually enslaved by ISIS. Their homeland remains contested by competing militias, creating new security challenges even as ISIS continues to haunt Iraq. The lack of infrastructure and economic opportunities further makes returning home challenging.
Although ISIS is officially defeated, the fight is long from being over for Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi communities. Religious minorities remain at risk of attacks from ISIS sleeper cells or controlling militias. Villages sit in ruin awaiting rebuilding efforts, forcing families to remain displaced—a problem made worse by COVID-19. While the looming threat may be gone, there is still much work to do and many challenges to persevere.
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