Iraq’s Christians seek another country

  • Written by:

Miles Windsor writes for the Wall Street Journal:
As in so many urban centers across the Middle East, the marketplace here on a Friday—before the mosques’ calls to prayer—is a whirlwind of bright colors and noisy, animated bargaining. It’s a festival for the senses. On the fringe of the town square, opposite the antediluvian citadel, stands the Bazaar Nishtiman, a vast mall that hosts a plethora of cheap-denim stores on its lower levels and 150 Christian refugee families in the upper levels.

The mall’s owner, a Christian, has given permission for the refugees to use the converted stalls for as long as they need shelter. Last June, thousands of Christian refugees fled to Iraqi Kurdistan from Mosul, Qaraqosh and other villages on the Nineveh Plain following the advance of Islamic State. Conversations with some of these displaced Christians reveal a common, striking theme. It quickly becomes clear that the greatest threat to the future of Christianity in Iraq is no longer the Islamic State assault but the evaporation of hope.