Many Iraqi Christians in the northern city of Mosul have fled mounting violence there, but those remaining say they fear for their lives.There are no exact figures on those who have stayed behind, but most of them are low-income Christians who simply cannot afford to emigrate.

Many Christians have been killed, several churches bombed and houses blown up in the past few months. The main source of fear for the remaining ones is that they have no idea of who is fueling the anti-Christian violence in the violent city.

“We live under a cycle of fear and instability. We are always worried and have no taste for peace. We seriously consider leaving the city,” said Behnam Moayad.Amira Salem says fear and terror have become part of Christian life in the city. “It is the same during the day and during the night. If one of our children goes to school and is late for a few minutes, we get extremely worried and afraid,” she said.

She said Christians lock their doors before it gets dark every day and refuse opening them no matter who is the one knocks on the door.Many Christians have fled the country or left to areas that are relatively safer such as the Kurdish north. But emigrating and leaving is not the solution, according to Nameer Fadi.

“I have thought about it (emigration) a great deal but it cannot be the ideal solution. Foreign (European) countries are making it more and more difficult for refugees to settle down. And there are issues of language, culture and integration,” Fadi said.

The anti-Christian violence has in a sense been a ‘blessing’ to property owners in the Kurdish north, even in villages and towns which are predominately Christian.Saad Atheer says rents skyrocketed in the Kurdish city of Arbil and other towns in the Kurdish north in the aftermath of the latest upsurge in anti-Christian violence.

He cited the case of Ankawa, a predominately Christian town close to Arbil where he said rents have soared astronomically in the past few weeks.He said property owners in Ankawa ask for up to $500 for a two-room flat per month, a massive sum which only a few can afford in Iraq.




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