Iraqi Christian Heritage

Iraq is home to some of the oldest continuous Christian populations in the world. Its approximately 150,000 Christians live primarily in Baghdad and the Nineveh Plains in Northern Iraq, and are among the last people on earth who speak Aramaic—the dialect spoken by Jesus. They are a community often forgotten by the Western world, and they continue to endure varying degrees and cycles of indignities and atrocity that have plagued them since the 13th century. As a group they have often been lost beneath the multitude of media headlines that documented the horrors of Da’esh (ISIS).

SWIC is committed to encouraging the long-term development of a more peaceful, prosperous and diverse Iraq. Since the brutal destruction of Christian communities by ISIS the stakes have never been higher—from a religious, cultural, humanitarian, political, and economic standpoint. Four-fifths of Iraq’s Christian population have died or fled since the last census held more than 30 years ago. The potential disappearance of this historic and resilient community, and their cultural contributions to Iraq’s multi-ethnic and religiously diverse society, would be catastrophic for the Iraqi nation, including the Muslim majorities. Through support for the redevelopment of farms and businesses, as well as education, SWIC is helping to build a healthy and sustainable foundation for the current and next generation. In doing so, we share in the significant challenges that Iraqi Christians face that can only be solved with love and financial contributions from those of us outside the conflict areas.

Learn more about Iraq both in biblical times and now by visiting the SWIC Map Project.