Germany slammed for Iraqi Christian plea

BAGHDAD, (UPI) — An Iraqi in charge of refugee affairs criticized German statements calling for the resettlement of Christians following a visit by the German foreign minister.
German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called on European nations in April 2008 to offer refugee status to Iraqi Christians. The European Union rejected the appeal, saying asylum could not be granted on the basis of religion alone.

Asghar al-Moussawi, a deputy official dealing with refugees and displaced persons in Iraq, criticized the German statements as German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier toured the country this week, Iran’s Press TV reports.

Moussawi said the calls were without merit due to steady improvements in the security situation in Iraq.

“It is not reasonable that Iraqis leave their country,” he said.

His comments are in contrast to statements from Archbishop Louis Sako of the Chaldean Church in Kirkuk, who said there are great challenges ahead for Iraqi Christians.

Sako said Iraqi leaders should focus on ways to develop solidarity among the varied ethnic and religious groups in the country, adding the Christian community faced serious obstacles at the provincial level.

The Iraqi Christian population was the target of a spate of attacks in late 2008 that displaced nearly half of its population by some estimates.