Iraqi Christians. (AP)
(CNSNews.com) – Since the invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, attacks on Christians living in Iraq have increased to the point where the 1.4 million Christians there in 2003 has fallen to 275,000 in 2016, according to ADF International.
In a supplement to the report, Genocide Against Christians in the Middle East, which was submitted to Secretary of State John Kerry in March, ADF International details the persecution of Christians in Iraq, a persecution that the U.S. and British governments, the European Parliament, and the United Nations have officially declared is genocide.
The genocide refers specifically to attacks by the Islamic State, or ISIS, on Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in Iraq, as well as in Syria, Libya, and other countries where ISIS is operating.
According to ADF International, the population of Iraq in 2015 was “estimated at 32.6 million comprising 98% Muslims, 1% Christians and 1% other religious minorities.”
"In 2003, the Christian population in Iraq was estimated at 1.4 million,” said the ADF International in its March 2016 report. “Currently the Iraqi Christian population is estimated at 275,000.”
“The attacks on the Christian population increased after the fall of Saddam Hussein, reaching its critical stage in October 2010 when 52 Christians were killed in an attack on the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad,” reads the ADF International report.
Other examples of the persecution of Christians in Iraq, cited by ADF International, include the following:
“In December 2013, three attacks targeting Christians in Baghdad killed at least 37 people, and injured over 59.
Islamic State fighters execute captives.
“In June 2014, IS [Islamic State] took over Mosul, giving an ultimatum to Christians living there (then over 30,000) to convert to Islam, pay a tax, leave Mosul or face death. Thousands of Christians fled to the Nineveh Plains.
“In August 2014, IS took over Qaraqosh, causing over 100,000 Christians to flee. The same fate has met the Christian population of al-Kosh. Numerous Christian sites were destroyed by the extremists.
“In August 2014, IS moved to Sinjar (Nineveh province) and massacred Yazidis, Assyrian Christians, Shi’a, and other minorities. Over 200,000 people (mostly Yazidis) managed to escape to the mountains. However, IS surrounded the mountains and Yazidis were not able to escape. Over 500 Yazidis were murdered by IS, and many died of starvation or dehydration.
“In September 2014, Mosul schools with Christian affiliations were forced to stop teaching Christian religious education and change their Christian names. Subsequently, in December 2014, Christian churches began to be used as prisons.
Worshippers killed inside a Christian church in Iraq. (Screenshot: YouTube)
“Apart from Christians, other minority groups are facing extreme persecution in Iraq. From 2005 to 2013, the Yazidi population fell by 200,000, and the Mandaean population decreased by 90% (either by death or forced migration), leaving only a few thousand in Iraq.
“IS has also persecuted Muslims that do not agree with their ideology. In October 2014, 150 Sunni Muslims were found murdered in a mass grave.”
To read the complete report, Genocide Against Christians in the Middle East, click here.