Years of war and the ensuing economic and political insecurity have shrunk the Christian community of Basra from a few thousands to a few hundred, leaving churches in the port city deserted as shown in footage filmed on Friday.
«When the wars started, the immigration also started due to ISIS violence, terror and political issues,» said the Pastor of the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church... Еще Basra Anji Sameer who added Christians had fled the port city to seek security and prosperity elsewhere.
«So many have immigrated and that has caused the church attendance to drop and the meetings are not regular,» added the pastor.
Father Simon Gasgos, a local priest who was also interviewed in Basra's National Evangelical Presbyterian Church, discussed reasons for Christian flight as well.
«Christians has been threatened or his property is taken because nobody is supporting him or or standing by his side or there are no laws to cover for him and he feels weak and scared. So he tends to immigrate and finds other solutions,» said Gasgos.
From almost 5,000 Christian families in Basra, only a few hundred are reportedly still living in the southern Iraqi city.