Excerpts from an article on an interview with Father Robert Jerjees in Baghdad, in which Al Jazeera reports on the first Easter in Iraq after the defeat of ISIL:
The Christian community in Iraq is said to be one of the oldest continuously existing communities in the world. They have had a presence in this land as far back as Mesopotamia.
In the last few years, the community has seen brutality and violence directed towards them.
The takeover of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), Iraq's second largest city, in 2014 saw the armed group kill men, women and children and seize Christian-owned houses.
Those who survived fled, and for the first time in its history, Mosul was left without Christians. This Easter, though, things have changed.
Much as the resurrection of Jesus Christ that Easter marks, the Iraqi Christian community is going through a rebirth.
ISIL was routed from the Nineveh plains and Mosul at the end of 2017 and for the first time since Church bells will ring out over Easter.
For Father Robert Jerjees in Baghdad, it is both a relief and blessing. He told Al Jazeera: "That our Christian brothers and sisters are coming back to their hometowns and rebuilding their future once more despite huge challenges gives an indication of resilience and the strong will to co-exist in this multireligious country.
“We feel there is still hope for Christians to live in Iraq among our other brothers from different religions.”
The full article is available on the Al Jazeera website.
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.