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Latest news > “One Christian family a month” flees Basra as Iraq violence rises

“One Christian family a month” flees Basra as Iraq violence rises


11 December 2018

One Christian family a month is leaving the southern Iraqi city of Basra in the face of violence and increasing tension on the streets.

Only ten percent of the previously 3,000-strong Christian community remains in Basra, although its community has not suffered the same level of persecution experienced in the north of the country, where Christian communities in the Nineveh plains were targeted in a campaign of genocide by Islamic State.

"In general, at least one family a month leaves," said Basra church leader Alnaufali Habib Jajou.

Caption
An Armenian church in Basra, where only 10% of the previously 3,000-strong Christian community remains

He added that poor conditions in the city where more than 20 people have been killed since July in bloody street demonstrations – against growing unemployment, water shortages and corruption – were causing the families to flee.

However, in spite of the violence, the Christian community is embarking on celebrations for Advent:  "We will continue to celebrate … families will continue to meet in small groups in individual apartments … for prayers and meetings."