By Beata Stur
Prague has reportedly welcomed the first group of Iraqi Christians that have been offered asylum in the country. The Czech Republic, as is the case with Slovakia, has agreed to host only Christians.
As reported by The Vatican Radio, their arrival comes amid mounting tensions between the European Union and several Eastern European countries over a plan to divide as many as 160,000 refugees, most of them Muslim.
Meanwhile, 10 of the 153 Iraqi Christians granted asylum arrived at Prague’s international airport on January 24. They were taken to a hotel near the central city of Jihlava, where they will spend several months. The 10 are all from towns near Mosul.
In December last year neighbouring Slovakia agreed to grant asylum to a group of 149 Christians who live in the same troubled region and face extremism there.
According to Vatican Radio, the Iraqi Christians will be transported by a fund linked to American television and radio personality Glenn Beck.
“We are taking to bring Iraqi Christians out of the Middle East with something called the Nazarene Fund,” he was quoted as saying. “We have raised about $12m. Our vetting is by far superior to that of the United States, the United Nations or the European Union. And we are thrilled that they are safe and they are actually going to a Mass to celebrate the blessings that Christ has given them.”