MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 23rd November, 2018) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and a delegation from the Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq discussed the plight of Christians in the middle East, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
“During the detailed exchange of views, Iraqi clerics shared their assessments on the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Special attention was paid to the situation with Iraqi Christians in recent years considering the significant deterioration of the security situation in the country due to the increased activity of the Islamic State terrorist group [IS banned in Russia] as well as other radical extremist organizations,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, most of Christian shrines in Iraq are in ruins as a result of the barbaric actions of terrorists, while the number of Christians has decreased from 1.6 million to 500,000 people due to mass persecution and extermination. Moscow, both in bilateral formats and on international platforms, has consistently called for urgent measures to alleviate the tragic situation of Christians in the Middle East.
The Iraqi delegation included the Archbishop Avak Asadourian of the Iraqi diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and General Secretary of the Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq Bishop Mar Abrs Youkhanna of Erbil (Assyrian Church of the East), Archpriest Sami Younan Alfred Ibraheem (Antiochian Orthodox Church) and the representative of the Coptic Church in Iraq Mina Alorshalemy.
The IS is an international terror organization that is actively spreading ideas of radical islam across the world. The group occupied huge territories in Syria and Iraq in 2014, which were later retaken by the countries’ respective governments. As a result a rapid increase of violence and discrimination cases against Christians were recorded in the Middle East. In recent years, due to the ongoing armed conflicts and persecution by Islamists, Christians have massively fled the Middle East.