Iraq’s Christians flee in the face of lawlessness and sectarianism

  • Written by:

Nearly four fifths of Iraq’s Christians have left and church leaders warn there may soon be none left at all
By Colin Freeman Baghdad
An Iraqi police officer guards Baghdad’s Chaldean Catholic Virgin Mary Church 
With armed police outside and CCTV cameras within, St Joseph’s Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad does its best to protect its worshippers from the dangers of modern-day Iraq.

But as the rows of empty pews show, most of its congregation have opted for altogether safer sanctuary abroad. Of the 5,000 families that the church once tended to, only 150 now remain after a mass migration in the last decade to Europe and America.

“They feel there is no peace, law or justice here in Baghdad, and that our country has become a land of militias,” said Father Nadheer Dako, St Joseph’s parish priest, after a Sunday morning service that drew just 25 people to a church built for 1,000.