Action is needed to help Iraqi Christians

Along with all the evils that are happening to innocent people in Iraq, there is the particular plight of Iraqi Christians.
The Christian minority in Iraq has suffered increasing harassment and persecution from Islamist elements within their homeland since 1990 and especially since 2003.

Their number has dropped from 1.5 million before 1990 to an estimated 400,000. Christians have become the target of persecution and of ethnic cleansing by radical Islamist groups – both Sunni and Shi’a – seeking the total Islamisation of Iraq. As both non-Arabs and non-Muslims, Christians are held in contempt and are suspected of being allied to western forces.

For this reason, many Christians are among the Iraqis seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, such as Jordan and Syria. Their number has increased dramatically over the past months. Prices for food and rent have increased and Iraqi Christians cannot earn a living, as they are not allowed to work.

Despite having employed many workers and translators from the Christian minority, western forces have often failed to provide their protection from vengeful militants. Many western governments are very reluctant to open their borders to Iraqi refugees.

There is great concern about this reluctance of western governments to recognise the needs of the persecuted Iraqi Christian minority.

Western governments should take note of the plight of these Christians, so that aid and relief for the refugees can be provided and refuge might be granted to Iraqi Christian refugees.

Charles Knox, Arbroath.

12:46am Friday 16th May 2008