Iraqi Christians start journey home to their ancient heartland

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The country’s faithful are rebuilding their communities in Nineveh after being driven out by Isis in the summer of 2014
John Pontifex
A Christian receiving Communion in July after returning to the city of Qaraqosh

“I thought we would never see the day when we would be back.” It is less than a week since Athar, her husband, Ashour, and their three-year-old son, Majed, returned to their home town of Qaraqosh in Iraq’s Nineveh plains.

For nearly three years the young family were among 120,000 Christians living in displacement camps in Kurdish northern Iraq. They had narrowly escaped Isis forces that, in the summer of 2014, seized the plains and the nearby city of Mosul.

They show me around their house, which has been repaired after the Isis violence. The smell of paint is all- pervasive, new light fittings are pointed out to me, as well as new doors, replacement windows, carpets and furniture. “This is where we belong,” said…
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