World Watch List 2015

Iraq

Main Source of Persecution: Islamic Extremism

Persecution for Christians in Iraq increased in every sphere of life, after the militants of Islamic State took hold of numerous towns and cities across Iraq in June 2014, telling Christians they must leave, pay a tax for religious minorities, convert to Islam or they would be killed. As a result many Christians fled, and many are still displaced.

In addition, the broader Iraqi society is turning more Islamic, with increased social control on women wearing the veil and observance of Ramadan. Christians most affected by persecution are converts from Islam. However, in areas held by radical Islamic groups all Christians are under great pressure.

In areas under control of Islamic State, churches and monasteries are in general either demolished or used for other purposes. It is practically impossible to have any kind of church life in Islamic State held areas. Many Christians, but also other religious minorities like Yazidis and Shabaq, have been killed, abducted and physically harmed. In areas held by the Islamic State, virtually the entire Christian community has disappeared.