Displaced Christians from Iraq ‘see no future’ in returning home

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Chiqui Guyjoco
Many of the displaced Iraqi Christians said they would rather migrate abroad than return home where religious-driven violence could potentially spring up anytime.
Saturday marked the second year anniversary since tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians fled their homes as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS or Daesh) militia took control of the most parts of Iraq and Syria.
(Reuters/Khalid al Mousily)Iraqi Christians pray as they attend a Good Friday mass at a church in Baghdad March 25, 2016.

Although the Iraqi security forces backed by U.S. airstrikes and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces already recaptured most of the areas seized by ISIS, this does not mean that many of the internally displaced living in the trailers of the Irbil refugee camp still look forward to going back to their villages.

“If organized migration were possible, then I can say that 90 percent of the inhabitants of this camp would leave,” camp manager Father Emanuel Adel Kelo told Fox News.

Raad Bahnam Samaan, who left Qaraqosh with his wife and five children, said “there is always hope” on returning home once the war ceases but fearfully predicted that “there won’t be anything left of our house.”

“I see no future for us (here),” said Samaan as he worries over his children’s future.

He also feared that the atrocities caused by ISIS might have already strained relations among the Iraqi people.

“We’ll still be afraid. I will go to Mosul and I will be afraid because they will say, here comes the Christian,” he said.

Many of the displaced Christians living at Ankawa 2 refugee camp shared Samaan’s sentiments back in May. While some camp residents already returned to their villages, many insist that they would only go back once peace and order have also returned.

“When they are liberated, we’ll return,” camp resident Ibrahim Shaba Lalo told Al Jazeera. “But without international protection, it will be very hard to return.”