USCIRF Chair praises designation of Kurdistan's Ankawa as new district
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (UCIRF), Nadine Maenza, on Tuesday praised the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) decision to designate the Christian-majority suburb of Ankawa a new district in Erbil province.
"Ankawa will be the biggest district of Christians in the Middle East," Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said on Monday after a ceremony to inaugurate the Erbil city area as its own district.
"Encouraging to see Masrour Barzani's announcement that they will put Ainkawa under administrative control of its Christian residents with the ability to 'nominate civic leaders, appoint officials, manage their own security and directly shape their destinies,'" Maenza said in a tweet.
Encouraging to see @masrour_barzani’s announcement that they will put Ainkawa under administrative control of its Christian residents with the ability to “nominate civic leaders, appoint officials, manage their own security and directly shape their destinies.” Important thread. https://t.co/97J33D8tqd— Nadine Maenza (@nadinemaenza) October 5, 2021
Located to the north of Erbil city, Ankawa is home to a large Chaldean, Assyrian, and Syriac population. Ninety percent of its residents are Christians, with the other ten percent being Muslim.
There are nearly 40 churches of different sects of Christianity in the district, including the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Ankawa is also home to the Catholic University of Erbil, a private, non-profit university founded in 2015 that offers education in arts and sciences.