Christians in Northern Iraq fear the future

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 Catholic News Service
ANKAWA, Iraq — When Suhail Louis left the sectarian violence of Baghdad a year ago, he thought he would find comfort in the safety of Northern Iraq. Instead, he’s faced with a new discomfort: unemployment.

Today he lives in this predominantly Christian town just outside of Irbil. The town has seen the arrival of more than 5,000 Christian families since the beginning of the war. His new home offers safety, but little more.

Should he learn Kurdish, the local language, to improve his employment prospects here? Or should he study English in case he is able to migrate to North America?

The 43-year-old Arabic-speaking engineer cannot stop reminiscing about his home city — the hustle and bustle, the culture, his once-good life. Even if the past eight years have been fraught with danger, it was still home.

“In Baghdad there was a future. Here, the future is unknown.”

The Baghdad engineer is far from alone in his state of flux. Many other Iraqi Christians who fled to the North find themselves in a similar predicament.

Despite ongoing sectarian tension and violence, one priest says that the biggest problem is poverty.

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