Cultural Revolutions

Christians in Iraq

Christians in Iraq have faced continuous attacks since the U.S. invasion. On January 29, three people died and more than twenty were injured when bombers targeted six churches in coordinated attacks in Baghdad and Kirkuk as Sunday evening services ended. In Baghdad, Patriarch Emmanuel III missed the bombings by minutes as he was held up by security checks on his way to St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Another bomb exploded near the Vatican mission in Baghdad. Muslims also attacked dozens of Christian students in Baghdad and in the northern city of Mosul.

Islamic militants have sought to drive out all Christians, mostly Catholic and Orthodox believers, for some time, continuing the exodus of one of the world’s oldest Christian communities that began after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In 2004, for example, a series of church attacks took place in Mosul and Baghdad, resulting in hundreds of casualties. At the same time, Christians have been targeted for kidnapping, their businesses destroyed, and their women forced to wear the Muslim veil. Many Christian university students, fearing for their lives, have stopped attending classes.

Even though Church leaders had encouraged their flock to stay in Iraq and preserve the ancient community, Latin Rite Archbishop Jean Sleiman told CNN that, as the violence against Christians has mounted, “immigration often seems the only way out of this inferno.” Indeed, the Christian...

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