5 out of 6 Iraqi Christians forced to flee since 2003, says Open Doors official

  • Written by:

Lorraine Caballero
Five out of six Christians have been forced to flee Iraq since war broke out in 2003, according to the head of anti-persecution charity Open Doors UK.
(Reuters/Ari Jalal)Displaced people who fled Mosul are pictured at a refugee camp in Duhok, Iraq.

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In an interview with Premier, Open Doors UK head Lisa Pearce said they are pushing the government to extend help to religious leaders in Iraq and Syria to better enable them to help the Christians who have remained in the region and have not sought refuge in organized camps. She also said half of the Christians in Syria have fled since 2010.

Pearce explained that those who stay are aware of the risks they are facing, but they chose to remain to serve the people around them. In light of the situation, Open Doors is calling on the government to include Christian and Muslim leaders in its network of aid distribution. She noted that many Christians avoid seeking help from organized refugee camps for fear of persecution.

Moreover, Open Doors is calling for dignified living conditions for all of the remaining people in Iraq and Syria, and for a role in the rebuilding of their society. The organization also wants Christians and other minorities to have the right to equal citizenship.

Meanwhile, anti-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces are inching closer to Mosul, Iraq in their bid to liberate the Christian city from the clutches of the jihadists. Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said they need a political plan in addition to their military tactics to succeed in retaking the said town, CNN reports.

“We would have loved to have a political plan along with a military plan, how to manage Mosul, how to administer Mosul, because Mosul has a variety of religions, with ethnicities,” Barzani told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

However, Barzani admitted that a political plan would take a longer time to implement, and that the battle for Mosul could take months of bloody clashes. He also noted that this is the first time that the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi troops have united to fight a common foe.

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