(Al Arabiya) – An Iraqi Catholic group called the Chaldean League has urged Christians to stay put in their native land, saying “ISIS terrorism will soon go away,” local media reported on Tuesday.
“Christians in Iraq must stay in their land and to stop migrating,” Safa Sabah Hindi, the head of Chaldean League, said in a statement reported by Iraq-based Al-Sumaria News website.
The Chaldean League, headquartered in Iraq, was formed last year to unite Iraqi Catholics in the country and abroad.
He added: “Christians are one of the main edifice for building Iraq and one of its cultural civilizational pillars, who add to Iraq’s plurality.”
Hindi promised that “ISIS terrorism will soon go away and Christians will be able to come back to their homes, villages and cities and will contribute like they used to in rebuilding Iraq.”
He also urged the international community with the backing with the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces to liberate Iraqi cities.
Iraq was recently successful in liberating ISIS stronghold city of Fallujah in the western province of Anbar, paving the way to recapture the country’s second largest city of Mosul.
In a lightning offensive, ISIS was able to seize Mosul in June 2014.
Many Iraqi Christians consider Mosul as their native home. After the ISIS seizure of Mosul, Christians were evicted, alarming the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, who said there were no more Christians left in Mosul for the first time in the country’s history.
Iraqi Christians, who are considered to be one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world, numbered about 1,500,000 in 2003, representing just over 6 percent of the population of the country down from 12 percent on 1947 in a population of 4.7 million.