Lobby for the Christians of Iraq

  • Written by:

eilian@nantperis.wanadoo.co.uk
0044 7876561398

Report on a visit to meet the Christians who have fled Mosul

A meeting is planned in Committee Room 7 the House of Commons, London at 10 a.m. next tuesday, the 28th october to ask the UK government
1 to help these displaced people.by providing emergency financial aid, and by providing 6-month visas for 250 displaced famillies.
2 to press the home office to stop harrasing Iraqi Christians in the UK with threats of deportation
 The meeting is sponsored by David Drew MP . We also hope to have a Mandaean speaker to explain the extent of their suffering

This follows my visit to the Armenian community of Havrest and Zeikho on Friday of last week and to those living in the Chaldean Church in Dohuk on Saturday.

On thursday,I met the KRG Foreign Minister and thanked him for the assistance given to fleeing Christians of the Arab-controlled Mosul city, and asked him to ensure their protection .He assured me of their safety once they are in Kurdistan

On Friday, in Zakho, Father Miran Yousif Murad showed me around the Armenian Church, built in 1923 by Genocide Survivors and introduced me to several who had previously fled to Zakho from Mosul.
He took me to a village called Havrest, built for the Armenians by the Kurdish Regional Government.They do not have to pay rent or money for the diesel to run the generators to provide electricity for the village. With me was Jwan Taher Ahmed a journalist who represents the Dohuk Governate. About 60 local people came to meet us and we sat outside the school. When I asked what are the main problems, their spokesman replied that they are helping the refugees arriving this week by sharing them around people’s homes. The refugees receive nothing for several weeks, only the help of themselves . Later they are given about 40 dollars per month by the Kurdish government, as well as enough diesel to run generators to provide electricity for the village for 3 hours per day. I asked if they could not grow vegetables at the edge of the village and they replied that the land belonged to somebody else.

Financial help for the new refugees from the UK government would be most welcome, as well as help for other problems.After all has not Britain and America a heavy responsibility to these people after unleashing the wave of Fundamentalism following the war? I was impressed by their willingness to help others even though their own situation was not flourishing.
I was afterwards taken to the home of a family who showed us her two-year old daughter She has two holes in her heart and when they lived in Baghdad, a German doctor was going to take her to Germany with a humanitarian organisation to have the required heart operation. Unfortunately the doctor fled Baghdad because of the terrorism and then they also fled, loosing the chance of this operation.
Can anyone please help by persuading the US, UK , French or Armenian government to provide a 6 month visa for the mother and daughter? Does anyone know of Humanitarian organisations who could help them?

On Saturday in Dohuk,I was taken by translator Kamal Hussain Mawlood to met the members of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Assembly, including Jameel Zaito, the chairman.They include all but one of the Christian political parties, and they confirmed the truth of the news of killings and flight of Christians from Mosul. I met a brave lady, Ms Basima Issa Salman, a Christian Member on the Niniveh Council, who had been threatened with assassination 13 times. She gave me copies of the letters which had been posted into the houses of Christians, ordering them to leave, and threatening to kill them in the name of Islam.She said that her body-guards were beaten up by local police who said that no Christian had a right to carry arms in Mosul and that they had an Islamic government in Baghdad who would support their actions

In the Dohuk Chaldean Catholic Church, over 60 people were given shelter. They came into a church room to recount their experiences.

Professor Samir Rahim began.. “The 6th of October passed quietly but on the 7th what hit us was like a volcano or a flood. Terrorists asked the people for their IDs and if they were found to be Christian they were killed. Assassinations had began on the streets. Two were ordinary building workers. A group of terrorists came and killed them . One of the victims was named Amjad. Assassinations were sporadic to start with and grew more intense . By Thursday the 9th, 14 had been killed. They attacked three families, kicked them out of their homes, stole their belongings and blasted their houses. In one house they came through the roof and slaughtered the whole family.People were now living in panic and terror. The terrorists said “We do not want Christians living amongst us. If you stay here we are going to kill you” The municipality for 10 days was as if it did not exist. On the 8th we fled for our lives to Kurdistan. The events happened in front of the local police with the assistance of the by police. The army did not interfere with the situation for 10 days. The Americans stayed in their barraks. A total of over 2,000 families have fled. ”

Ablahad Khoshaba Zaiya, a floor tile layer showed me where they were sleeping in the Church and said “A Kurdish friend helped our familly escape from Mosul at night.I know nothing about my future . All I know is that now I live in the house of God We have no future at all here. I just want a safe place to raise my children”. .There were 7 in his family .Gorgis Shamon Esho , Haitha Petros and Faleel Eskandar Istefo agreed with him.

An Armenian woman Mariam Sepan Sarkismeherian said that her family was originally from Dehe in Armenia, and had fled to Mosul after the 1915 genocide.Only her father survived from his whole family. They all said that they were too afraid to go back to Mosul. Even if things improve, the terrorists will always come back, because they want the “Christian infidels” to leave. Many of the people said that they would be willing to go to Europe if they were accepted.
  The UK government must urgently address this serious issue. We must ask how much the government is going to contribute to alleviate their hardship and how many Christian refugees will be given visas to come to this country.

I also visited the Yazidi Cultural Centre in Dohuk and learned much about their persecution. They provided evidence also about the Armenian Genocide, as a Yazidi tribe had been massacred by the Turkish government troops in 1916 for sheltering Armenians

Eilian Williams