The Christian population in Iraq has fallen to about 400,000 since 1987 when it numbered 1.4 million.
The country has grown, but with persecution from ISIS, Christians are leaving the country to become refugees elsewhere.
“We were given just a few hours to leave Mosul,” a refugee told a writer with the NewStatesman. “We fled to Qaraqosh [a Christian town just east of Mosul] and then Islamic State came there, too, and we had to flee Qaraqosh.”
During the day, the men who have left the country find shade outside and take their meals at a church-sponsored event. The women and children stay out of the sun in tiny tents.
Those who have left Mosul are now staying in Baghdad or Kurdistan. In Kurdistan, the president is talking about building new Christian towns for the refugees, but work is hard to come by in the city.
“There are still more than ten million non-Muslims in the Arab world, the great majority of whom are Christians,” said Gerard Russell, a former British and UN diplomat, in a column for the NewStatesman. “And even if almost all of them leave within the next half-century, they will survive in exile, at least for a few generations, though transplanted to western countries devoid of any of their ancient shrines and monasteries."
Publication date: January 29, 2015