As recently as 2003, between 800,000 and 1.4 million Christians lived in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq, the U.S. State Department said in its 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom. The number has dwindled to 250,000, the State Department said, including about 2,000 evangelical Christians. Most Christians there, about 67 percent, are Chaldean Catholics (an eastern rite of the Roman Catholic Church). Another 20 percent are members of the Assyrian Church of the East, and the remainder are Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, Anglican and other Protestants.
Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors ranks Iraq 14 among the 50 countries where it is most dangerous for Christians to live, where Islamic oppression plagues an estimated Christian population of 166,000.
“Iraq remains plagued by conflict, despite the recent territorial losses of the Islamic State group, which continues to gravely affect the country’s minority Christian population,” Open Doors said in its report. “However, encouragingly, there has been a substantial drop in reported incidents of violence in the last year.”
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