Many Christians, who have been the most vulnerable religious minority targeted by Islamic militants in Iraq since 2003, say that they have found a safe and well-protected haven here in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

As recent as last week, one of the main Christian churches in Iraq was targeted when some Islamic Arab extremists broke into the church and held dozens of prayers hostage and killed more than 50 of them.

A day after that bloody incident, the Christians as well as Muslim Kurds here in Erbil took to the streets condemning the consecutive attacks on a peaceful tiny religious minority in the Arab-dominated part of Iraq.

But the story of Christians is different here in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq.

One Christian leader, Fahmi Mati Solaqa, who is the mayor of Ankawa, a neighborhood where the Christians have a de-facto autonomous rule in Erbil, says Christians enjoy a “unique life in Kurdistan,” that they do not in the rest of the Middle East.

“There is a plan to downsize Christians in the Middle East,” said Solaqa. “In Lebanon, the Christians have been reduced from %60 to %40. This rate is even more in Iraq.”

“But in Kurdistan, by contrast to the entire Middle East, the Christians have increased,” added Solaqa.



November 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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