For decades, Iraq’s Christian population has been in a state of steady decline. Recently, however, Vatican Radio (old/broken link: https://www.radiovaticana.org/inglese/enindex.asp) reported on a key exception to this trend. Via Vatican News (old/broken link: https://www.news.va/en/news/a-beacon-of-hope-for-iraqs-christians):
In the last decade, the Christian population in Iraq has plummeted from 800,000 to an estimated 150,000. Many have fled their homes and even the country to escape attacks and religious intolerance. But one area in Northern Iraq is seeing an influx of Christians.
The town of Ain Kawa, a suburb of the Kurdish capital Erbil, has seen an increase from over 8,000 in the mid-1990’s to more than 25,000 today.
“There are two main reasons [for this influx]. One is [that] this is the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq, where the safety and general security is thought to be that much better than elsewhere in Iraq. That’s the first reason; the second reason is because that particular suburb … is already quite well populated with Christians,” says Senior Press Officer for Aid to the Church in Need, John Pontifex.
Mr. Pontifex reports to Lydia O’Kane that many Christians are leaving everything behind to make the journey to Ain Kawa.
The full broadcast, clocking just over seven minutes, can be found in mp3 form at the Vatican News site (old/broken link: https://www.news.va/en/news/a-beacon-of-hope-for-iraqs-christians).