by Ethel C. Fenig
While the various Muslim sects, groups, tribes, factions and religions are battling it out and slaughtering each other in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt the historic Christian communities in these countries are also disappearing claims a top Chaldean bishop.
“We are in the process of disappearing, just as the Christians in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and North Africa have disappeared. And even in Lebanon they now constitute only a minority,” Archbishop Yousif Mirkis, head of the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Kirkuk, told the Catholic charity group Aid to the Church in Need.Many of Iraq's Christians have fled to northern Iraq which is under the control of the Kurds where they have been welcomed. Although Muslim, the Kurds are not radical so the Chaldean Christians feel safe there. Hopefully this will continue.
Iraqi Christians, despite being a minority, have long been important to the country’s social fabric by operating many schools, hospitals, and charities, in addition to their disproportionate representation as engineers, doctors, writers, and journalists. (snip)
Before 2003, it was estimated that around 130,000 Christians lived in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, but only about 10,000 remained before the recent ISIS invasion. Overall, nearly two-thirds of Iraq Christians have fled the country since 2003.
The hundreds of thousands of Jews who once lived in these regions left long ago. However they are not wasting away in refugee camps like the Muslims; in the great population exchange of 1948 following Israel's modern day return, most of the expelled Jews went to Israel.
But now the once Muslim dominated countries with Christian and Jewish minorities have an overwhelming Muslim population, having expelled or forced out others. But even they can't get along among themselves as the contemporary bloodshed indicates.
Ethel C. Fenig
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