Christians in Basra, Iraq, extend invitation to those who emigrated: ‘Come home to peace and security’

BASRA, Iraq — Christians residing in the Iraq’s Basra Governorate issued a heartfelt invitation to the Iraqi Christian diaspora community, urging them to return. The call comes in the wake of restored security and peace, marking a significant turnaround from the wave of emigration that once gripped the region.

Historically home to over 7,000 Christian families, Basra has seen a dramatic decline, with only 350 families remaining, as reported by the Basra Council of Churches. Currently, a substantial number of the governorate’s churches sit empty, with 80% of Chaldeans–Syriacs–Assyrians having emigrated, seeking safer and more prosperous lives either in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) or abroad.

Aram Sabah, the head of the Chaldean Diocese of Basra and Southern Iraq, cited multiple factors contributing to this emigration, including marginalization, lack of security, threats, absence of rights, and instances of insults. Of the 17 churches in Basra, 9 have been closed, and 2 others were tragically burned.

Residents like Habib Saadoun emphasize the absence of ethnic discrimination in Basra, calling for the return of Christians to their rightful home. Saadoun maintains that Basra belongs to Christians as much as anyone else, underscoring the inclusive nature of the community.

While the Christian community in Iraq has faced severe challenges over the past two decades, the recent call from Basra’s Christians signals a hopeful outlook, inviting a return to stability and coexistence.