Saturday, August 26, 2006

Iraq's Christian Population Cut by Half

Mark sends this depressing piece:
by William Norman Grigg
August 19, 2006

Prior to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, noted Chaldean Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Andreos Abouna of Baghdad in a recent address to British charitable groups, about 1.2 million Christians lived in the predominantly Muslim country. Since that time, roughly half of the Iraqi Christians have fled their homeland, driven out by persecution and sectarian violence. Three-quarters of Baghdad's Christians have left the Iraqi capital city.

“What we are hearing now is the alarm bell for Christianity in Iraq,” stated Bishop Abouna. “When so many are leaving from a small community like ours, you know that it is dangerous — dangerous for the future of the church in Iraq.” Many Iraqi expatriate Christians have taken up residence in Syria, Jordan and Turkey, and Bishop Abouna thinks it unlikely that many will ever return.

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