Source: BBC News
On August 2, 2004 the BBC News reported, "Christians have inhabited what is modern day Iraq for about 2,000 years, tracing their ancestry to ancient Mesopotamia and surrounding lands. Theirs is a long and complex history. Before the Gulf War in 1991, they numbered about one million, but that figures is now put at about 800,000 and falling. Under Saddam Hussein, in overwhelmingly Muslim Iraq, some Christians rose to the top, notably Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, and the Baathist regime kept a lid on anti-Christian violence. Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Karim, described Iraqi Christians as one of the country's most respected communities. Mr. Karim said they had not even sought political power in the post-Saddam Iraq, aware of their vulnerability in the country so dominated by Muslims. In return, Christians have been allowed to practice freely and relatively unharassed." The article went on to examine the history of Christianity in Iraq in more detail.