Displaced Iraqi Christians die in miserable conditions

August 27, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

displaced iraqi christiansIraq, August 21, 2014: Reports have emerged that Iraqi Christians driven from their homes by Islamist militants are beginning to die in crowded camps and other temporary places of refuge.

On 10 August, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako released a statement on the plight of displaced Iraqi Christians, whom he said are sleeping in churches, schools, streets and public parks. The statement began:

Death and sickness are taking hold of the children and elderly people among the thousands of refugee families spread over the Kurdistan region.

The most vulnerable among the displaced Christians are dying because of shortages of water, food, medicines and shelter.

Earlier this month, militants from the Islamist group ISIS (which now wishes to be known as the Islamic State) seized vast swathes of territory in northern Iraq, forcing hundreds of thousands of Christians and members of other religious minorities to flee. Barnabas Fund is providing around 30,000 displaced Christians with food and basic needs.

Harrowing reports have also been circulating of the plight of those who were unable to escape. On 13 August, a United Nations statement highlighted abductions and sexual violence against women, girls and boys. The report said that some 1,500 Yazidis and Christians may have been forced into sexual slavery.

As the battle for control of northern Iraq continues, the United States has launched airstrikes on ISIS positions. By 19 August, Kurdish and Iraqi forces had managed to recapture the strategically important Mosul Dam from ISIS fighters.

BRAVE MUSLIMS SPEAK OUT FOR CHRISTIANS

Although many believers have found that their neighbours have become their persecutors as ISIS has rallied support, some brave Muslims have spoken out for their Christian compatriots. A Barnabas Fund partner on the ground reported that one Muslim family refused to participate when their neighbours planned to loot Christian homes. A young man from the family said, “We are neighbours. How come you go to loot their houses?” The man was shot by the ISIS sympathisers.

Our partner also reported a similar incident in Telkeif, in which a young Muslim man told ISIS fighters, “Christians are better than you.” ISIS immediately shot the man to death.

Also, an Iraqi TV host, Nahi Mahdi, broke down in tears on-air while speaking out in support of displaced Christians in his country. In response to a statement made about their plight, Mahdi said, “Yes, the Christians. Today… I cried at home. They are our own flesh and blood. Some of them have left for Sweden or Germany… who does (ISIS) think it is to drive out our fellow countrymen?”

A guest on Mahdi’s show also referred to Christians as “honourable people, with high moral values. They always maintain their sense of justice. We stand a hundred per cent in solidarity with them.”

– barnabas team

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