Things have gotten worse for the Christians in Iraq as the Muslims there have become “more outwardly pious and politically Islamist,” says AP. This is a backhanded admission that Muslim piety leads to greater hostility toward Christians. But if anyone said that straight out, AP would tar him as an “Islamophobe.”
“Iraqi Catholics celebrate Easter,” by Diaa Hadid for the Associated Press, March 31:
BAGHDAD (AP) “” Iraq’s Catholic Christians flocked to churches to celebrate Easter Sunday, praying, singing and rejoicing in the resurrection of Christ behind high blast walls and tight security cordons.
It was the first Easter since the election of Pope Francis in Rome, and worshipers said they hoped their new spiritual leader would help strengthen their tiny community that has shrunk under the joint pressures of militant attacks and economic hardships.
At the St. Joseph Chaldean Church in Baghdad, some 200 worshipers stood and sat during parts of the Easter mass led by Father Saad Sirop….
Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, Iraqi Christians have suffered repeated attacks by Islamic militants. Hundreds of thousands have left the country, with church officials estimating their communities have at least halved. The worst attack was at Baghdad’s soaring Our Lady of Salvation church in October 2010. It killed more than 50 worshipers and wounded scores more.
More broadly, decades of immigration have shrunken the size of Christian communities throughout the Middle East, with most leaving for better opportunities and to join families abroad.
Other Christians in the region no longer feel comfortable among majority-Muslim communities that many believe have become more outwardly pious and politically Islamist over the decades.
They included Iraqi Christian worshiper Yousef’s son, who moved to live with relatives in Arizona last year. Yousef said she was arranging for her other daughter and son to immigrate.
“There’s still fear here, and there’s no stability in this country,” she said….