Iraq's Religious Minorities - Exodus And Extinction [Heart And Soul]

Episodes

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01Kaka'i: Our Fight To Survive2019051720190519 (WS)

Farhad al-Kake tells the story of his people, the Kaka'i of Iraqi Kurdistan, whose faith has put them under threat from Islamic fundamentalists. Persecution has made them secretive about their beliefs and practices, but for the first time they tell of the danger they face – how places of worship have been destroyed and believers kidnapped, attacked and murdered by Isis, who hold the Kaka'i’s egalitarian, peaceful religion to be a ‘false cult’. Despite the danger, we hear how the Kaka'i are holding on to their faith on the frontline.

(Photo: Kaka'i women on rugs. Credit: Farhad al-Kake)

The Kaka'i people of Iraqi Kurdistan are battling to keep their faith in the face of ISIS

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Iraq’s minorities, some of the oldest communities in the world, are being driven from the country by Islamic extremists. It’s a threat that continues despite the formal defeat of Isis in Iraq in 2017, with jihadist militia attacking non-Muslims and their places of worship. In this series we hear how two different religious minorities in Iraqi Kurdistan are trying to save their faith in the face of persecution.

Episode 1: Ka’kai: Our fight to survive.
Farhad Al-Kake tells the story of his people, the Ka'kai of Iraqi Kurdistan, whose faith has put them under threat from Islamic fundamentalists. Persecution has made them secretive about their beliefs and practices, but for the first time they tell of the danger they face – how places of worship have been destroyed and believers kidnapped, attacked and murdered by Isis, who hold the Ka’kai’s egalitarian, peaceful religion to be a ‘false cult’. Despite the danger, we hear how the Ka’kai are holding on to their faith on the frontline.

How two religious communities in Iraq are battling to keep their faith in the face of ISIS

02The Last Christians In Iraq?2019052420190526 (WS)

Dr Maria Rita Corticelli journeys to the Ninevah Plain north of Mosul in Iraq to meet Father Ghazwan, a parish priest who has battled to save his Christian congregation following persecution from the Islamic State group. Like other religious minorities, Christians in the region were given a stark choice by IS - flee, convert to Islam, or be killed. As a consequence, the number of Christians in Iraq has fallen from 1.5 million before 2003 to around 200,000. These are some of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. In Alqosh there are families who trace their history in the small town back 2,000 years and still speak the language of Jesus – Aramaic. Yet some observers predict Christianity could be extinct in Iraq in 20 years. Christian towns across the Ninevah Plain remain in ruins. Thousands of refugees who sought sanctuary in Erbil and Alqosh – the only Christian town not to be taken by IS ­– are still not able to return home. Many see no future in Iraq. Others have faith Christianity can rise from the ashes of the devastation. ‘Just as gold becomes stronger when you put it in the fire, this is our faith,’ says Najib Michael Mousa, Archbishop of Mosul.

(Photo: A cross is propped up against a wall outside a destroyed church)

In the Nineveh Plains in Iraqi Kurdistan, Christians battle to keep their faith

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.