Mosul receiving returning Christians

MOSUL, Iraq, (UPI) — Christian leaders in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul report thousands of parishioners are returning to the area following a spate of targeted violence in 2008.

Samir Elias with a Chaldean church in Mosul told the Iraqi bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the violence against the Christian community was a “cloud that has now cleared, and we hope it will not come back.”

Targeted attacks against the Christian community in northern Iraq escalated in the latter half of 2008, forcing roughly half of the minority group to flee to surrounding areas and to nearby Syria.

Elias told the news service, however, that several Muslim groups were working to resettle Christian families in Mosul, adding they had protected their property during their absence.

Ramsay Micha Paulis, a Chaldean member of the Ninawa provincial council, told RFE/RL Iraq that around 80 percent of the estimated 10,000 members of the Christian minority who fled the region have returned to the area.