Iraqi Christians still face persecution

by Jenna Lyle
Nearly six years since the beginning of the war in Iraq, Iraqi’s are increasingly saying that their country is becoming a safe place to live, according to a recent survey. For Christians, however, the daily threat of violent attacks means these are still uncertain times.

According to a recent ABC News poll, 84 per cent of Iraqi’s now feel safe in the country – almost double the figure from last year – whilst 59 per cent said they felt very safe. The poll also suggested that 75 per cent trusted Iraqi forces to maintain security without US help.

Around 65 per cent of those questioned also felt that things were going well in their own lives.

Despite this Christians are still the victims of violence. Canon Andrew White of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad told CBN news that 83 congregants of his church were killed last year, and another five this year.

He said, “It’s difficult… We cry, but we know that God… will not fail us and we see incredible things amongst the Christians.

“The church is growing and the people are loving each other and they’re loving God… That’s what gives us true hope.”

Last week the Bishop of Chichester in the UK said that Christians in the Middle East were facing “extreme deprivation” as a result of religious persecution.

Speaking in a debate on religious persecution in the House of Lords, Bishop John Hind said, “In places where different faiths have coexisted for centuries we see the rapid attrition of the Christian church in its ancestral homelands.

He continued, “In Iraq, Christians have suffered extreme deprivation, sometimes due to sheer religious hatred, sometimes just caught in the cross-fire, sometimes because, amazingly and quite wrongly, they are regarded as representatives of a western faith.

“So we cannot disown our own particular responsibility and the pressure on Christians in some parts of the world.”

The German Government recently agreed to take in 400 Iraqi refugees, many of whom are Christians, as part of a Europe-wide agreement.