British PM receives charred Bible found at a shrine torched by ISIS

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Jardine Malado16 December, 2017
(Reuters/Stefan Wermuth)Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to the media outside 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain April 18, 2017.
British Prime Minister Theresa May received a Bible that was found at a shrine in the Iraqi town of Karamles after the Islamic State was ousted from the Nineveh Plains region last year.

The Arabic Bible, which was charred but intact, was presented to May on Wednesday by Fr. Daniel Alkory, along with Christian charity Open Doors and Conservative MP Dame Caroline Spelman.

During the Wednesday meeting, Alkory highlighted the plight of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East and asked the prime minister for help in securing a better future for them.

According to Open Doors, the Bible, which was found at St. Mary’s shrine after it was burnt by ISIS, symbolizes the hope which the Christian community in Iraq continues to hold on to.

Later that day, the priest told around 30 MPs, Peers and church leaders assembled at the U.K. parliament about the genocide taking place in his homeland, and warned them that their actions would determine whether there would be a future for Christians in the Middle East.

He said that while the attacks of ISIS have ceased, “this does not mean we have become free, [as] IS was not the only one who persecuted us.”

“Many might have been against the war in Iraq, but if you are silent, you are guilty too… I believe that whether my people will [one day] be gone will depend on your actions,” the priest said, noting that Iraqi Christians were disappointment with the West.

Alkory’s church compound in Erbil is currently housing Iraqi refugees who were forced by ISIS to flee from their homes in 2014, according to World Watch Monitor.

Lisa Pearce, the CEO Of Open Doors U.K., noted that the Christian population of Iraq has decreased in the last 15 years from an estimated 1.2–1.5 million to just over 250,000 today due to the attacks against them.

She noted that Christians and other minority groups will not have a future in the Middle East unless religious leaders are involved in peace-making and the building of a sustainable future.

Meanwhile, supporters of Open Doors, dressed as Mary and Joseph, gathered outside the parliament and held placards that read: “Is there room for Christians in the Middle East today?”

Alkory’s visit to the parliament came after 808,172 people from 142 countries signed an Open Doors petition, asking the U.N. and governments around the world to ensure that Christians and other minorities in the Middle East enjoy the right to equal citizenship, dignified living conditions and a prominent role in reconciling and rebuilding their society.

The petition was presented to U.N. representatives in New York and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Washington D.C. earlier this week by Noeh, a 12-year-old boy from northern Iraq, who lived in Alkory’s church compound for over three years.