Support is flooding in for an Assyrian church's reopening in Baghdad
The reopening of the church could be a major boost for the persecuted Christian community in Baghdad. (Facebook)
This week, Baghdad's St.George's Church reopened in an event attended by Christian, Muslim and Yazidi figures as well by Iraqi politicians. It might not seem so important from the outside, but for Iraq's Assyrians still plagued by Daesh (ISIS) attacks across the country, the ceremony was a new hope for change.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent sectarian chaos caused hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians to flee the nation's capital to Erbil in the North or to safer countries across the world. Some were determined to stay, and many paid a heavy price.
Churches have been destroyed, priests have been kidnapped and killed, and Christian families live under constant threat of violence from radical groups throughout the city. In 2010, a suicide attack saw over 58 worshippers killed at the Our Lady of Salvation church in the center of the city, and while the world condemned the massacre, the situation did not improve.
Perhaps worst of all has been the rise of Daesh, who have been known to destroy churches and execute kidnapped Christians if ransoms are not paid. This has led to increased fear across Baghdad, with Christians worrying that they will be the targets of Daesh sympathizers within the city.
There's still plenty of problems for minority groups in Iraq, but for a lot of people, the reopening this week was huge. Messages of support flooded in on Facebook as the announcement was made by the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East.
After being bombed and destroyed by terrorists following the commencement of the 2003 war in Iraq, St George's Church of...Posted by Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East on Monday, 2 November 2015
By Kane Hippisley-Gatherum