Germany may act alone to rescue Iraqi Christians, Merkel aide says

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Berlin – Germany may act alone to rescue Iraqi Christians if fellow European Union nations continue to refuse a joint welcome to the refugees, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s top adviser on immigration Tuesday. Maria Boehmer said in Berlin that members of the ancient Christian minority were regularly being threatened by Islamist gangs, who were giving households a choice of converting to Islam or leaving the country within 24 hours.

“In view of the serious human rights crisis in the region, rapid action is needed,” she said in Berlin. “The plight of the non-Muslim minorities which have fled to Jordan and Syria to get away from persecution is getting worse.”

She called for Germany to receive refugees alone if an EU welcome were not quickly issued. Critics in the EU have argued that help for the Christians would discriminate against any Muslims who leave Iraq.

Boehmer, who is government commissioner on migration policy, rejected that.

“We have to start off by helping those whose plight is worst,” she said.

Currently, the worst-off were the religious minorities, unaccompanied women and children among the refugees, who had no option of returning to Iraq, but also no way as refugees to earn a living.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that fewer than 25 per cent of the refugee children can attend school, and that young women are under huge pressure to enter prostitution.

Iraq’s Christian communities date back to the time before Islam
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