World, Middle East

1.5 million Christians left Iraq since 2003: Lawmaker

MP puts current number of Christians in violence-prone Iraq at between 500,000 and 850,000

03.05.2017
1.5 million Christians left Iraq since 2003: Lawmaker FILE PHOTO

ERBIL, Iraq

Some 1.5 million Christians have left Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003, an Iraqi MP said Wednesday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Josef Sleve, an Iraqi Christian lawmaker, said the number of Christians in Iraq had stood at almost two million in 2003.

He added, however, that most of these had fled the country since then due to rampant insecurity and frequent incidents of terrorism.

“The number of Christians living in the country now stands at between 500,000 and 850,000,” Sleve said.

“This means that over the past 14 years, some 1.5 million Christians have emigrated to other countries,” he added.

The lawmaker went on to assert that the pace of Christian emigration had increased since the Daesh terrorist group overran much of northern and western Iraq -- including the city of Mosul -- in mid-2014.

Reporting by Idris Okuducu; Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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