Erbil, Iraq, Aug 6, 2019 / 12:52 pm
Five years on from the conquering of Christian communities in Iraq by the so-called Islamic State, Christians in the country remain at the “point of extinction,” Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil said this week.
“The ISIS attack led to the displacement of more than 125,000 Christians from historical homelands and rendered us, in a single night, without shelter and refuge, without work or properties, without churches and monasteries, without the ability to participate in any of the normal things of life that give dignity; family visits, celebration of weddings and births, the sharing of sorrows,” Warda told papal charity Aid to the Church in Need this week.
“This was an exceptional situation, but it’s not an isolated one. It was part of the recurring cycle of violence in the Middle East over more than 1,400 years,” he said.
ISIS captured the Christian communities of the Nineveh plains Aug. 6, 2014. Christians were not able to return to the area until the fall of 2016, when Iraqi forces and their allies recaptured the area. To date, about 40,000 Christians have returned; many have emigrated.