Mosul’s only priest, Father Imanuel Adel Kloo, has reported that only 40 of the 15,000 Iraqi Christians who used to live in the city have returned home. Mosul was captured by the Islamic State (ISIS) and used as their base of operations throughout Iraq. Although defeated, ISIS maintains a strong presence in Mosul.

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Although barely any Christians have returned home to Mosul, many still have an active presence there. Fr. Kloo estimates that hundreds of Christians are employed in Mosul and about 1,000 Christians are students at Mosul University. However, all of these individuals are commuters.

A group of Iraqi Catholic Christians attend a mass during Easter celebrations at the Mar Polus (St. Paul) Chaldean church in Mosul, northern Iraq, 21 April 2019.

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A lack of security and broken community trust are the primary reasons why Christians are so reluctant to return to their homes in Mosul. Many still believe that their former neighbors maintain the ideology of ISIS, recalling how easily it was for the militants to capture the city. West Mosul remains an extremely challenging neighborhood because of how ISIS maintains activities there. Many Christians would prefer not to have interactions in Mosul, but are forced to commute there out of necessity and lack of other alternatives.

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