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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 08:15 AM

Iraqi Christians fear returning home, wary of Shiite militia

Source: Associated Press

Iraqi Christians fear returning home, wary of Shiite militia

By FAY ABUELGASIM
February 11, 2019

BARTELLA, Iraq (AP) — In the main square in the northern Iraqi town of Bartella stands a large cross, one of the few overt signs the town was historically Christian.

Nearby, a massive billboard shows Shiite Muslim martyrs alongside a photo of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. Posters of Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen killed in fighting with the Islamic State group hang on streets all around the city, along with banners to revered historical Shiite saints.

Thirty years ago, Bartella’s population was entirely Christian. Demographic changes over the decades left the town split between Christians and an ethnic group known as Shabak, who are largely Shiites. When the Islamic State group overran the town and the rest of northern Iraq in 2014, Bartella’s entire population fled — since both communities were persecuted by the radicals.

But two years after Bartella was liberated from IS, fewer than a third of its 3,800 Christian families have come back. Most remain afraid, amid reports of intimidation and harassment by Shabak, who dominate the Shiite militias now controlling the town.

Catholic priest Behnam Benoka claimed that the Christian community is being pushed out by the Shabak. He also said multiple cases of sexual harassment have been reported to him and even one robbery of a little girl whose gold earrings were stolen. At one point, Shabak men fired guns in the air front of the town’s church for over an hour.

-snip-


Read more: https://apnews.com/6905fe02e58b40dd8d0caaca06fa847c

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Reply Iraqi Christians fear returning home, wary of Shiite militia (Original post)
Eugene Feb 11 OP
Hoyt Feb 11 #1

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 10:42 AM

1. I had difficulty understanding why if Muslims "hated" Christians as much as white wing warmongers

said, so many Christians were able to live in relative peace in Iraq before george war bush invaded and occupied the country.

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