The onslaught of ISIS jihadists in Iraq has ignited a refugee crisis of vast proportions. Among those targeted are Iraqi Christians, who face an increasingly dire plight. “The situation was already bleak but now it has got a whole deal worse,” according to John Pontifex, spokesperson for the UK branch of Aid to the Church in Need.
The number of Christians in Iraq has dwindled for years – and now believers find themselves threatened with extinction.
“The next days will be very bad. If the situation does not change, Christians will be left with just a symbolic presence in Iraq,” says Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, based in Baghdad. “If they leave, their history is finished.”
For Kirkuk’s Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Youssif Mirkis, the decreasing presence of Christians in Iraq is a tragedy.