by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A suburb in the Kurdistan Region is to be given autonomous administrative control and become the largest Christian district in the Middle East, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani made the announcement this month about the Erbil suburb of Ankawa.
As ISIS raged through Iraq and Syria in 2014, Christians fleeing the area came to live in Ankawa, increasing the size of the Christian community there, ICC said. The district now hosts around 40 churches from several Christian denominations, as well as the Catholic University of Erbil. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of the population of Andawa identify as Christians, from Chaldean, Assyrian, and Syriac backgrounds.
In a Twitter post on October 4, PM Barzani said: “From now, Ainkawa will be the biggest district of Christians in the Middle East. Most of its residents have fled persecution in Nineveh, Baghdad & Syria. They have been welcomed among us. And now we offer them the chance to lay deeper roots in a sanctuary of their own.”
The PM recently met with local leaders to discuss building the new district. Residents will be able to elect their own mayor, civic leaders, and manage their security, ICC reports.
Ankawa “has become an important center for religious and social coexistence as well as reconciliation,” Barzani said.
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