Upcoming Events View All
10
ITEST Webinar: Faith That Makes You Think

Saturday, 12/10/2022 at 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

11
Mass in Memory of Our Children

Sunday, 12/11/2022 at 2:00 PM

11
A Light Shines In The Darkness

Sunday, 12/11/2022 at 2:00 PM

14
Made for More Speaker Series

Wednesday, 12/14/2022 at 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

17
Advent Day of Prayer: Allowing Christ to Become Flesh in Us

Saturday, 12/17/2022 at 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

19
Sounds of a Celtic Christmas

Monday, 12/19/2022 at 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

20
Young Adult Evening Prayer

Tuesday, 12/20/2022 at 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

1
Annual New Year Church Tour

Sunday, 01/01/2023 at 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Chaldean Archbishop Habib Nafali of Basra, Iraq, spoke to schoolchildren Oct. 5 at St. Columba Church in Chester, England, about the persecution of Christians in Iraq.
Chaldean Archbishop Habib Nafali of Basra, Iraq, spoke to schoolchildren Oct. 5 at St. Columba Church in Chester, England, about the persecution of Christians in Iraq.
Photo Credit: Simon Caldwell | Catholic News Service

Iraqi archbishop fears more persecution, believes ISIS went underground

Chaldean archbishop said displacements and murders of Christians constitutes genocide

CHESTER, England — Christianity in Iraq is just one wave of persecution away from extinction, said the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Basra.

In an interview with Catholic News Service, Chaldean Archbishop Habib Nafali said there were now so few Christians in his country that the Church there would disappear if subjected to further persecution.

He said the displacements and murders of Christians over the past 15 years constituted genocide.

“Another wave of persecution will be the end of Christianity after 2,000 years,” he said in the Oct. 5 interview in St. Columba Church.

“There is a global game, and the peaceful people — the minorities — in the end will be the ones who are destroyed,” he said.

He said he was fearful of renewed persecution because he believed the Islamic State terror group had not been defeated, but had gone underground. It was suspected of being behind a recent spate of murders of women who had chosen to dress themselves in Western fashions, he said.

“We have seen with our own eyes how they attack Christians,” he added.

He said Iraq’s Christians had suffered “systematic violence” intended to uproot and eradicate them, to “destroy their language, to break up their families and push them to leave Iraq.”

“If this is not genocide, then what is genocide?” he asked.

Christians have lived in what was known as Mesopotamia since the time of the apostles and some speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. But the archbishop said their number has plunged from 1.5 million to just 250,000 in the last 15 years, and they now represent about 1 percent of the population, compared to 6 percent a century ago.

In the decade that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, a church or a monastery was destroyed every 40 days on average, the archbishop said.

“There are still more than maybe a quarter of a million of us struggling to stay in our homeland,” added Archbishop Nafali.

“Others went to more than 70 countries, which is a crime against humanity when you find Chaldeans and Syrians (Christians) everywhere — in Sweden, Denmark, in the U.K. and the United States.”

Besides the threat from terrorism, Christians continue to face discrimination in the labor market, with many of them finding it almost impossible to get a job because their faith is an obstacle to employment, he said. He added that such factors prevented the return of refugees.

The archbishop was in the U.K. as a guest of Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity that helps persecuted Christians around the world.

Related Articles Module

Recent Articles Module

Other Recent Universal Church Articles View All

Advent watching includes noticing God at work in daily life

‘Love is the most important ingredient’ in Lebanese meal project

Catholic leaders respond to shooting at Colorado nightclub

Nation and world briefs for Nov. 28

From the Archive Module

Iraqi archbishop fears more persecution believes ISIS went underground 3097

Must Watch Videos

Now Playing

    View More Videos