In 2002, more than one million Christians lived in Iraq. Now there are just 300,000. About 120,000 Christians had to choose between converting to Islam and death during the previous years. Experts estimate that in five years, there will no longer be Christians in Iraq.
This is according to a new report from Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity.
MSGR. GEORGES CASMOUSSA
Auxiliary Patriarch, Syrian-Catholic Church
'If liberation comes, people will return. But there are many who will not because they don't want history to repeat again in their lives for the second, fourth, or tenth time.â?
CARD. BÉCHARA BOUTROS RAí
Maronite Patriarch of Antioch
'It pains me so much that the international community, that international politics, is so immoral...Pope Francis has denounced it many times: What we must do in the Middle East is not political reform. We do not need to introduce democracy. We need to end the arms trade.â?
The title of the report is 'Persecuted and Forgottenâ? and it covers the 2013 through this year. According to the report, Christians suffer severe persecution in 10 countries: China, Eritrea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and North Korea. The worst are Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, and Syria.
It says that Islamic fundamentalism is the primary cause of Christian's perilous situation in many of these countries. But there are non-Islamic countries which also violate Christians' rights.
Other data is spine-chilling. In 2014, China arrested more than 400 religious leaders. The situation in North Korea is worse. In March of 2014, Dictator Kim Jong-un in ordered the execution of 33 Christians accused of espionage. The report also says that 10 percent of the country's the 400,000 Christians are in labor camps, where they're tortured, killed, and used for medical experiments.