Christians in Kurdistan Region celebrate Christmas Eve
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Christians in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region on Saturday night gathered at their communities’ churches to celebrate Christmas Eve.
Top Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials took part in the religious ceremony in the Kurdish capital Erbil, highlighting the peaceful coexistence the Region has maintained for years.
“Kurdistan Parliament and the KRG, through legislations and decrees, have emphasized deepening the coexistence,” Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowment Pishtiwan Sadiq told Kurdistan 24 in Erbil.
Over 80 percent of Iraq’s Christian population live in the Kurdistan Region due to the “wisdom” of the Kurdish leadership in protecting religious minorities, Ano Jawhar, the Christian Minister of Transportation and Communications, told Kurdistan 24 while attending the ceremony.
At Mart Shmoni Syriac Orthodox church in Ankawa, hundreds of Christians attended Christmas Eve service in the capital. Similarly, worshippers in both Sulaimani and Duhok observed Christmas celebrations.
“During the religious feasts, we also celebrate with our Kurdish Muslim friends,” a Christian woman told Kurdistan 24 in Zakho, wishing a happy Christmas to those celebrating the day.
The administrative status of Ankawa, a Christian suburb of Erbil, was upgraded this year by the regional government to a district, making the area the “largest Christian district in the Middle East”, according to the KRG.
The Kurdistan Region has hosted thousands of Christians fleeing religious persecution by the so-called Islamic State group since 2014.