The new Iraq government promises to bring normalization, but treating the regime as instantly normalized is causing new problems for the fragile government. To the dismay of the UN, Sweden decided to forcibly return 20 Iraqis, five of whom are Christian, to Iraq. Yet the new regime is failing to adequately protect Christians and other minorities in the new Muslim state.
Christians have been urged not to worship openly or put up Christmas displays as Christmas approaches after 52 people were killed when security forces stormed Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church in Baghdad after militants connected to al Qaeda took hostages during a Sunday Mass on October 31. Several Christians have also been killed in targeted attacks in Mosul.
A rising number of Christians are reported fleeing Baghdad and Mosul to other regions of Iraq and to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon.
The Iraqi Government has reiterated its commitment to protecting all citizens, including minorities, but the tradition of religious freedom and tolerance is weak in the Iraqi culture. Thus, forcible repatriation of Christians to Iraq could be subjecting them to danger.