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‘On the Very Edge of Extinction’: Iraqi Archbishop’s Dire Warning About Christian Persecution, Violence

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An Iraqi archbishop warned during a speech last week that Christianity in his war-torn country is “on the very edge of extinction.”

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The Most Rev. Bashar Warda, the Archbishop of Erbil, told hundreds of religious leaders gathered for the G20 Religion Forum in Bali, Indonesia, he’s fearful for the state of believers in his nation.

Warda decried the violence within Iraq’s borders and warned of dire consequences if it isn’t reined in. This included a purported threat of the end of the beleaguered Christian minority in Iraq, The Christian Post reported.

“The brutal logic of this is that there does eventually reach an end point where there are no minorities left to kill, and no minorities left to persecute,” Warda said. “Such is the bleak future of religious pluralism in Iraq today.”

He continued, “I pray that you will find in our story a clear warning to you all.”

Warda said the violence crisis in Iraq must be addressed, as it threatens not only Iraqi Christians and other minority groups but also the entirety of the Middle East and other nearby regions.

“If this crisis is not acknowledged, addressed, and fixed, then there can be no future for Christians or any other form of religious pluralism in the Middle East,” he said.

Chaos in Iraq is well-documented, with Christian persecution continuing to plague the nation.

Iraq ranks 14th on the most recent Open Doors USA “World Watch List,” a list documenting the countries with the worst Christian persecution across the globe.

“Iraq remains plagued by conflict, despite the recent territorial losses of the Islamic State group, and this continues to gravely affect the country’s minority Christian population,” an Open Doors USA report explained. “Many Christians are also seriously affected by intolerance and persecution. This is perpetuated mostly by militant Islamic groups and non-Christian leaders.”

The systemic issues also carry over into governance, with leaders often discriminating against Christians. The situation is so dire in some areas of Iraq that Christians intentionally choose not to show any religious symbols identifying their worldview.

Read more about these issues here.

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About The Author

Billy Hallowell writes for CBN's He has been working in journalism and media for more than a decade. His writings have appeared in CBN News, Faithwire, Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite, PureFlix, and Fox News, among other outlets. He is the author of several books, including Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts Hallowell has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York and an M.S. in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.