RELIGION

Displaced Christians In Iraq Prepare For Christmas With Festive Holiday Market

Iraq's Christians and other religious minorities had a horrific year as the Islamic State swept through the country with its reign of terror. One bishop estimated that 90 percent of Iraq's Orthodox Christians have been displaced, while others have speculated that "Christianity in Iraq is finished."

As Christmas approaches, however, displaced Christians in Iraq are keeping their traditions alive despite the ongoing threat of the Islamic State. Christians staying in the Mar Elias Catholic Church in Ankawa and Umm al-Nour Church in Erbil have set up holiday markets where they are making and selling Christmas merchandise -- and spreading a little Christmas cheer in the process.

Take a look at the photos below:

  • ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 14:  Young Christians sit gather to sell Christmas merchandise made by displaced Iraqi Christian child
    Matt Cardy via Getty Images
    ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 14: Young Christians sit gather to sell Christmas merchandise made by displaced Iraqi Christian children inside a tent erected in the grounds of Mazar Mar Eillia (Mar Elia) Catholic Church, that has now become home to hundreds of Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes as the Islamic State advanced earlier this year, on December 14, 2014 in Erbil, Iraq.
  • ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 14:  Young Christians sit gather to sell Christmas merchandise made by displaced Iraqi Christian child
    Matt Cardy via Getty Images
    ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 14: Young Christians sit gather to sell Christmas merchandise made by displaced Iraqi Christian children inside a tent erected in the grounds of Mazar Mar Eillia (Mar Elia) Catholic Church, that has now become home to hundreds of Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes as the Islamic State advanced earlier this year, on December 14, 2014 in Erbil, Iraq.
  • ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 14:  Young Christians sit gather to sell Christmas merchandise made by displaced Iraqi Christian child
    Matt Cardy via Getty Images
    ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 14: Young Christians sit gather to sell Christmas merchandise made by displaced Iraqi Christian children inside a tent erected in the grounds of Mazar Mar Eillia (Mar Elia) Catholic Church, that has now become home to hundreds of Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes as the Islamic State advanced earlier this year, on December 14, 2014 in Erbil, Iraq.
  • ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 12:  Iraqi Christian children make Christmas decorations in a school tent erected in the grounds of Ma
    Matt Cardy via Getty Images
    ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 12: Iraqi Christian children make Christmas decorations in a school tent erected in the grounds of Mazar Mar Eillia Catholic Church, in Ankawa, that has now become home to hundreds of Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes as the Islamic State advanced earlier this year, on December 12, 2014 in Erbil, Iraq.
  • ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 12:  Iraqi Christian children make Christmas decorations in a school tent erected in the grounds of Ma
    Matt Cardy via Getty Images
    ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 12: Iraqi Christian children make Christmas decorations in a school tent erected in the grounds of Mazar Mar Eillia Catholic Church, in Ankawa, that has now become home to hundreds of Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes as the Islamic State advanced earlier this year, on December 12, 2014 in Erbil, Iraq.
  • ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 08:  An Iraqi Christian, who fled from his home because of Islamic State's advance earlier this year,
    Matt Cardy via Getty Images
    ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 08: An Iraqi Christian, who fled from his home because of Islamic State's advance earlier this year, sells Christmas decorations at the entrance to a camp near Umm al-Nour Church, which is now home to hundreds of displaced Iraqi Christians on December 8, 2014 in Erbil, Iraq.
  • ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 07:  Iraqi Christian women knit jumpers for Christmas presents at a knitting club set up in a tent in
    Matt Cardy via Getty Images
    ERBIL, IRAQ - DECEMBER 07: Iraqi Christian women knit jumpers for Christmas presents at a knitting club set up in a tent in the grounds of Mar Elias Catholic Church, in Ankawa, that has now become home to hundreds of Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes as the Islamic State advanced earlier this year, on December 7, 2014 in Erbil, Iraq.
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