Iraqi Christians Face Harder Times Ahead

Thursday, September 9, 2010

By Joseph C. DeCaro, Worthy News International Correspondent

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (Worthy News)-- An organization dedicated to persecuted Christians worldwide expects life for believers in Iraq will only get worse as American troops are redeployed back to the States.

After President Barack Obama formally ended the seven-year U.S. combat role in Iraq with, "It's time to turn the page," Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, believes turning that page is premature.

"I believe that we're turning this country over to a government that is in chaos," said Moeller. "It is in transition at best; it hasn't yet settled on a firm form of government. We have just basically said, 'Please don't disturb us as you collapse.'"

Moeller is worried that a diminished U.S. presence will put Iraq's Christian minority at risk, even in a Muslim-dominated "democracy".

"We have very clear indicators from the ground that the Christian community in Iraq is suffering greatly by increased violence between factions of Islam," Moeller said. "I've spoken at length with refugees all around the region [who are] saying it's an unreported disaster: the extinction of the Christian community in Iraq."

Moeller believes Christian persecution will accelerate as the U.S. military moves out.

There were at least an estimated 750,000 Christians in Iraq when the United States-led invasion began in 2003, but hundreds of thousands have since fled their homes and many stay in neighboring countries.