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Iraqi Christians fear returning home, wary of Shiite militia

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-middle-east/2019/02/11/iraqi-christians-fear-returning-home-wary-of-shiite-militia/
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Feb 11, 2019 2:24 AM 2+ mon ago

Iraqi Christians fear returning home, wary of Shiite militia

In the main square in the northern Iraqi town of Bartella stands a large cross, one of the few overt signs the town was historically Christian.

BARTELLA, Iraq -- In the main square in the northern Iraqi town of Bartella stands a large cross, one of the few overt signs the town was historically Christian.

Thirty years ago, Bartella's population was entirely Christian. Demographic changes over the decades left the town split between Christians and an ethnic group known as Shabak, who are largely Shiites. When the Islamic State group overran the town and the rest of northern Iraq in 2014, Bartella's entire population fled -- since both communities were persecuted by the radicals.

But two years after Bartella was liberated from IS, fewer than a third of its 3,800 Christian families have come back. Most remain afraid, amid reports of intimidation ...

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