The Iraqi government in an official announcement has declared Christmas Day, a national holiday across the country in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Taking to Twitter Tuesday, the Iraqi government wrote:
“The @IraqiGovt announces Christmas Day to be an official holiday across Iraq. Happy Christmas to our Christian citizens, all Iraqis and to all who are celebrating around the world.”
December 25 will now be recognised as an official holiday for residents of the predominantly Muslim country.
Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country boasted of an estimated 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, but in recent times, the number has drastically reduced to about 300,000, with many being killed or forced to flee after coming under attack by various armed groups, including Islamic State, over the years.