The Iraqi prime minister has encouraged Christians displaced by ISIS to come home—but are the conditions right for a safe return? Catholic leaders and aid agencies say without stability and economic support, one of the world’s oldest Christian communities could become “a museum Church.”
After a meeting on Aug. 9 with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphaei I Sako, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi encouraged Christians, who fled their homes in Northern Iraq after ISIS invaded the region in 2014, to return home.
“Iraq is the country for everyone, and that Christians are the original children of the country,” Al-Kazemi said in a statement following the meeting, as reported by AINA.
He added that “everyone is a partner in building the future of Iraq,” and that “[w]e are serious about providing assistance to our Christian families and solving their problems. We are glad that Christians will return to Iraq and contribute to its reconstruction.”
After ISIS invaded Northern Iraq in 2014, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of Yazidis, Christians, and other minorities, the U.S., declared that genocide had taken place. The terror group was eventually driven out of the region, with its last territorial stronghold of Raqqa falling in 2017.
However, many Christians and Yazidis have yet to return home in the wake of ISIS.
Read more at Catholic News Agency