Following the mass exodus of Christians and Shabak and Yezidi Kurds from Mosul after it was captured by ISIS, faith groups living in Baghdad are now under threat. Observers are concerned that due to the large number of Christians who have fled to the Federal Kurdistan Region their security cannot be fully guaranteed.
Following the capture of Mosul by ISIS in June, Assyrian-Syriac, Chaldean and Armenian Christians and Shabak and Yezidi Kurds fled after death threats from ISIS.
The extremist group has burnt down churches and Shia mosques and after distributing leaflets giving Christians still in Mosul an ultimatum the remaining Christians fled.
25 thousand Christians left Mosul in a fortnight
It is reported that the remaining 25,000 Christians in Mosul, a city that was home to close to 200,000 Christians until 2003, have left Mosul in the last fortnight.
Christian leaders have compared the tragedy in Mosul to the Armenian genocide in 1915.
Chaldean bishop Paulus Zafar warned: “In the near future Baghdad may become a city without Christians.”
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako said ethnic cleansing has been carried out against Christians, describing it as “a humanitarian and cultural catastrophe.”
Sako added that they have received reports of hundreds of Christians being massacred in the streets of Mosul, calling on the international community to take action against ISIS.
Latest migration may be hard for South Kurdistan!
Most of the Christians who have fled Mosul and its environs in the last two months have taken refuge in South Kurdistan.
Observers are concerned that the Federal Kurdistan Region will not be able to cope with the latest influx, having already received around 300 thousand Syrian refugees. The total number of refugees in Kurdistan is now over 1 million.
Theologian Thomas Schirrmacher told German international broadcaster “Deutschen Welle” that Kurdistan is currently the safest region for Christians, but that this might change. Schirrmacher said he was worried that Christians might suffer discrimination and persecution there.
In 2003 before the invasion of Iraq led by the US, there were around one and a half million Christians in Iraq. About 200,000 of them lived in Mosul. It is estimated that approximately 300,000 Christians remain in Iraq.
ANF – NEWS DESK 30.07.2014