Christian population of Iraq on decline due to chaos and insecurity

NINEVEH PLAIN — After decades of instability and centuries of oppression, it is no surprise the Christian population of Iraq is on the decline. According to a recent report published by Rudaw, Christians from Iraq emigrate for a number of reasons, the most prominent of which is their insecurity due to the chaos which has pervaded the country over the past years, in addition to poverty and unemployment.

The report made it clear that Christians are committed to the law and want to live in peace but have increasingly chosen to emigrate due to the chaos which has prevailed in the country caused by weak governments which are susceptible to foreign interference and the poor enforcement of the law.

The report indicated that the number of Christians in Iraq before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime was estimated at 1.5 million. Now, less than 300,000 remain, most of them internally displaced following the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS).

The number of Christians began to decline in Iraq specifically after the year 2003, when they experienced increased persecution and groups of armed men began targeting Christian communities.

The assault of ISIS on Nineveh Governorate in the year 2014 and their ensuing occupation of the Nineveh Plain was the strongest blow to Christians, as the terrorist organization forced them to flee their homes.

Those who returned to their homes after ISIS was defeated found nothing but the destruction and vandalism of homes and churches, with ISIS replaced by Iranian-backed Shia militias.