Archbishop Warns One of the Oldest Groups of Christians in the World is 'Perilously Close to Extinction'

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A Chaldean Catholic Church leader warned British officials this week that after decades in decline, Iraqi Christians are now facing their “final, existential struggle.”

Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, met individually with United Kingdom leaders and addressed members of both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday, the U.K. Tablet reported.

He called on the British government to take diplomatic action to protect Iraq’s diminishing Christian population.

“Christianity in Iraq,” he said during his address in London, according to the BBC, “one of the oldest Churches, if not the oldest Church in the world, is perilously close to extinction.”

“Those of us who remain must be ready to face martyrdom,” he said.

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The archbishop told British leaders that jihadist pressure in the region — despite the Islamic State group’s decline in recent months — still presents a major threat, having already forced more than 125,000 Iraqi Christians out of their homes since the terror organization’s initial rise in 2014.

Iraq’s Christian population had already sustained tremendous losses in previous years, seeing an 83 percent decline in population — down to 250,000 from almost 1.5 million — since the early 2000s, according to Warda.

“Our tormentors confiscated our present,” he said, “while seeking to wipe out our history and destroy our future. In Iraq there is no redress for those who have lost properties, homes and businesses.”

“Tens of thousands of Christians have nothing to show for their life’s work, for generations of work, in places where their families have lived, maybe, for thousands of years,” Warda added.

Do you agree that western leaders have neglected to take action to protect Iraqi Christians due to political correctness?

He argued that, should western leaders continue to turn a blind eye to these struggles, a 1,400-year-old community of Christians could soon be entirely displaced from its land of origin, if not wiped out completely.

Warda used sharp words to address what he believes to be the cause of western hesitance.

The “cancer” of political correctness has resigned European leaders to inaction in the face of Islamic extremism because they’re afraid of being labeled Islamophobic, the archbishop suggested.

“Will you continue to condone this never-ending, organized persecution against us?” Warda asked.

“When the next wave of violence begins to hit us, will anyone on your campuses hold demonstrations and carry signs that say, ‘We are all Christians?'”

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“Will a peaceful and innocent people be allowed to be persecuted and eliminated because of their faith? And, for the sake of not wanting to speak the truth to the persecutors, will the world be complicit in our elimination?” he said.

Some British church officials rallied behind Warda.

The Rev. Philip Mounstephen, who serves as the Church of England’s bishop of Truro, told the BBC he feels placing the blame solely on “Islamic militancy” would “let a lot of other people off the hook who should otherwise be held to account.”

But Mounstephen did say a self-imposed cultural “guilt” has resigned the west to inaction when it comes to protecting Middle Eastern Christians.

“I think the archbishop is right that a culture of ‘political correctness’ has prevented Western voices from speaking out about the persecution of Christians,” Mounstephen said.

“I think though this is mainly to do with a reluctance borne of post-colonial guilt.”

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Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He has since covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal, and now focuses his reporting on Congress and the national campaign trail. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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