Iraq

Joseph Slewa, former Iraqi lawmaker in Christian bloc: Iraq’s Christians continue to leave Iraq permanently [#JosephSlewa #IraqChristians #Iraq]

The Christian population in Iraq continues to decrease as the religious minority continually looks for opportunities to escape discrimination in the country.

According to Joseph Slewa, a former Iraqi lawmaker in the Christian bloc, Iraq’s Christians continue to leave Iraq permanently because they believe immigration is their only option.

“In 1980, 1.8 million Christians lived in Iraq; however, unconfirmed data in 2014 showed that only 400,000 Christians remain in Iraq.”
– Joseph Slewa, former Iraqi lawmaker in Christian bloc

Former Iraqi lawmaker says number of Christians leaving Iraq rising
Kurdistan24

Archbishop of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, has accused Britain’s Christian leaders of failing to do enough in defence of the vanishing Christian community in Iraq.

In an impassioned address in London, the Rt Rev Bashar Warda said the Christians in Iraq now faced extinction after 1,400 years of persecution.

Since the US-led invasion toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Christian community had dwindled by 83%, from around 1.5 million to just 250,000.

“Christianity in Iraq, one of the oldest Churches, if not the oldest Church in the world, is perilously close to extinction. Those of us who remain must be ready to face martyrdom.”

Rt Rev Bashar Warda referred to the current, pressing threat from Islamic State (IS) jihadists as a “final, existential struggle”, following the group’s initial assault in 2014 that displaced more than 125,000 Christians from their historic homelands.

Iraq’s Christians ‘close to extinction’:
BBC News

Christianity in Iraq is ‘close to extinction,’ those left ‘face martyrdom,’ faith leader warns:
Christian Post

Being a missionary in the Middle East is a unique ministry.

A group of youth at Redwood Alliance Church, Redwood Falls, Minnesota learned that February 9, 2019 when they met with an individual who has been serving in northern Iraq for a decade. That missionary, who asked to remain anonymous for safety purposes, talked about the work that has been going on in that nation, which is primarily Muslim.

Yes, people are coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ there even though in some cases making that decision means facing the potential of persecution.

A missionary does not enter Iraq with that designation, adding they typically go through a different opportunity, such as teaching English.

As a missionary, the question that is often posed to people is “who is Jesus?”.

That is a question every person must answer.

Is He some legendary person? Was He just another person who lived and died in history? Is He, as believers have come to accept, the Son of God who died on a cross and rose from the dead offering all who accept His sacrifice forgiveness of sins and eternal life in the presence of God?

Students also heard that following Jesus does not mean a life of ease, but those who put their trust in God can know that He will never lead them astray.

Local youth learn about impact of Christian faith in the nation of Iraq:
Crookston Daily Times

Thirty years ago, the northern Iraqi town of Bartella’s population was entirely Christian. Demographic changes over the decades left the town split between Christians and an ethnic group known as Shabak, who are largely Shiites.

When the Islamic State (IS) group overran the town and the rest of northern Iraq in 2014, the entire population of Bartella fled — since both communities were persecuted by the radicals.

But two years after Bartella was liberated from IS, fewer than a third of its 3,800 Christian families have come back.

Most remain afraid, amid reports of intimidation and harassment by Shabak, who dominate the Shiite militias now controlling the town.

Iraqi Christians fear returning home, wary of Shiite militia:
The Republic | The Washington Post | Fox News | Stars and Stripes | Herald-Whig | Temple Daily Telegram

Almost five years after Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) slaughtered its way onto the scene in Iraq and Syria – brandishing their own extreme and much-denounced version of Islam – some in the Middle East are coming out to announce their conversion to Christianity, seeking another Abrahamic faith to drown out the nightmares of life under the terrorist tirade.

“One day, ISIS came to the house as they were unhappy with my mother and my sister. They wanted to take them away and I begged them not too, I said I would do whatever I could to protect them. So for two years and eight months, we were forced to live under their rule and do what they say.”
– Jamial, a 35-year-old Iraqi, who in recent months made a quiet conversion to Christianity

ISIS nightmare prompts some Muslims in the Middle East to convert to Christianity:
Fox News