ANKAWA, Iraq — Following the announcement by Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) Masrour Barzani that the Ankawa district of Erbil will be granted local administrative control, Bishop of the Chaldean Diocese of Erbil Bashar Matti Warda expressed his happiness with the decision. He called the move strategically important for the local Christian population and called on them to stay and invest in their homeland.
Bishop Warda said in an interview with Kurdistan 24 that making the decision is an important step for Ankawa, a place of coexistence for many peoples.
The bishop pointed out that Christians took refuge in Ankawa after being killed and forcibly displaced — their churches in Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, and Nineveh bombed and attacked. In Ankawa, they found an opportunity for coexistence and economic and social prosperity.
Some 13,000 families fled to Ankawa when the Islamic State (ISIS) invaded their villages and cities in 2014.
Bishop Warda thanked the KRG for the decision, stressing that it would have positive results on the provision of services in Ankawa. He urged Christians to stay in Iraq, noting that there are plans to implement many projects such as improving and establishing schools, universities, and hospitals and encouraged investors to invest their money in projects that provide jobs for all.
“Our confidence in the future of the region encourages Christians not only to survive, but to invest in this region,” Bishop Warda said.