In a recent article for the National Catholic Register, Edward Pentin raised concerns about the declining number of Christians in Iraq, with projections indicating that it may drop below 50,000. The article highlights the urgent need to address Christian emigration from the country and emphasizes the importance of providing essential resources, as well as job opportunities, to encourage Christians to remain in Iraq.
Archbishop Bashar Warda, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Erbil, Iraq, discussed the hardships faced by Christians in Iraq, primarily stemming from the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization and the subsequent conflicts and wars that have plagued the nation. These dire circumstances have compelled numerous Christian families to leave the country.
Archbishop Warda pointed out that prior to 2003, Iraq’s Christian population exceeded 1.3 million people. However, two decades later, the number has dwindled to less than 250,000.
Pentin highlights the multiple challenges faced by the Christian community in Iraq, encompassing economic, political, and social aspects. Christians often experience exclusion and neglect, lacking adequate representation in parliament and political spheres.
Furthermore, the article underscores the plight of Christian youth in Iraq, who endure a lack of security, stability, and viable job opportunities. Limited prospects for securing government positions contribute to high levels of unemployment within Christian communities.
Efforts must be made to reverse these trends and ensure the preservation of Iraq’s Christian heritage, argues Pentin. This includes addressing the economic, political, and social barriers faced by the Christian community, promoting inclusivity, and creating an environment conducive to job creation and stability.