Friday, June 13, 2014

Iraq’s Vulnerable Christians Further Imperiled by Jihadist Advance – The startling gains made by jihadist fighters in Iraq are placing the region’s already extremely vulnerable Christians in even greater peril, Christian advocacy groups are warning.
While hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are affected by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s takeover of key cities including the Ninawa (Nineveh) provincial capital, Mosul, minority Christians – some of whom trace their origins to the earliest years of Christianity – are among those with the most to lose.
In previous years, Christians fleeting violence in Baghdad or elsewhere in the south often headed for the Mosul area. The Nineveh Plain formed the historic homeland of Assyrians, an ancient non-Arab ethnic group in Iraq. Main Christian denominations include Chaldean Catholic, Assyrian, Syrian Orthodox, Armenian and evangelicals.
Syria was another key destination for Christians who were able to leave Iraq, but the civil war there made life even riskier across the border than at home, prompting some to return.
For many Christians in the Mosul area now, the autonomous Kurdish region to the north-east may offer the best short-term hope – if they are able to cross over. Chaldean archbishop Amel Nona told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) he believed all Mosul’s Christians had left the city, and spoke of efforts to find emergency accommodation in ancient Christian villages in the Nineveh Plain.
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