Iraq: Christian families are leaving in droves
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The Chaldean Patriarchate has issued a statement attesting that Iraqi Christians are leaving their country in droves due to compelling sociological and political factors, which include discrimination, Agenzia Fides reports. The Christians of Iraq make up one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world; there are an estimated 500,000 Christians still in the country.
According to the Chaldean Patriarchate, Iraqi Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, some 20 Christian families per month are leaving their homes in the cities of the Nineveh Plains and other parts of northern Iraq, Agenzia Fides reports.
In his statement, Cardinal Sako said over half of Iraqi Christians have emigrated in the last five years, and many more are waiting to do so.
Among numerous reasons for the exodus of Christians from Iraq, Cardinal Sako includes social instability, lack of equal employment opportunities, and discrimination, Agenzia Fides reports.
Discrimination takes the form of penalizing measures in the workplace and the absence of legal recourse for Christians, who are not treated as equal citizens under the law, the Patriarchate said. The predominant local law, moreover, is Islamic Sharia law which does not protect Christianity.
Concluding his statement, the Patriarchate said: “If someone does not want us to remain in our country as citizens with equal dignity, then we should be told openly so that we can address the issue before it’s too late,” Agenzia Fides reports.
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