Friday, April 13, 2012

Iraq’s Christians Celebrate Easter In Baghdad, April 2012

April 8, 2012, was Easter Sunday, which was celebrated by Iraq’s Christians. It is the largest religious minority group in the country. Various Islamist groups have carried out a relentless campaign of violence and intimidation against them. That has led to a massive migration of thousands of people within the country, and out of it. In 2003, there were an estimated1-1.4 million Christians in Iraq. By 2008, there was only around 600,000-800,000 left. There are still large Christian communities left in places like Baghdad, Ninewa, Tamim, Dohuk, Sulaymaniya, and Irbil. Many are still leaving the country to this day. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported at the end of 2011 that 50% of Iraqis moving to Turkey were Christians. At the same time, the International Organization for Migration noted that in the ending months of last year, 150 Christian families moved from Kurdistan back to Baghdad. There are still occasional attacks upon Christians, but with greater stability, hopefully they can return to something resembling a normal life again. Below are pictures of Christians celebrating Easter at an Armenian church in Baghdad.

Prayers at an Armenian church in Baghdad, Apr. 8, 2012 (Reuters)
The congregation inside the Armenian church(Reuters)
An Armenian priest taking communion (Reuters)
Lighting candles at the Armenian Church (Reuters)
Church service at the Virgin Mary Chaldean Christian church in Baghdad (Getty Images)
Lighting candles outside of the Chaldean church (Getty Images)


Ferris, Elizabeth and Stoltz, Kimberly, “Minorities, Displacement and Iraq’s Future,” Brookings Institution-University of Bern, December 2008

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Of Christians To The North Of

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