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Iraq's Christians ponder future in wake of Kurdish independence vote

Iraqi Christians are divided over whether their areas in northern Iraq should be a part of Kurdistan, the Iraqi central government or an entirely new autonomous area.
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BAGHDAD — The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Rafael Sako, in an Oct. 16 press interview, expressed his concern that the Kurdish crisis would put at risk the Christians’ presence in Iraq. He said the current conflict in the disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil would impede the Christians’ return to their areas, and prompt Christians to rush to leave their country for good.

Sako appealed to Christians to unite their ranks and engage in dialogue to preserve the Christian component in Iraq. Nevertheless, the church's calls for a dialogue that would have Iraq’s Christians discuss the future of “the Christian component” may not gain much traction because of the great divide among this religious grouping, particularly following the referendum on independence for the Kurdistan region that took place Sept. 25.

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