Iraq: Nothing Done for Displaced Christians

Sunday, October 12, 2014

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

BAGHDAD (Worthy News)-- An Iraqi bishop whose community has taken in more than 70,000 displaced Christians is dismayed that the government in Baghdad has failed to offer any assistance, according to Patheos.

"The reality is that Christians have received no support from the central government," said Archbishop Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Archeparchy of Erbil. "They have done nothing for them -- absolutely nothing ... The government in Baghdad received a lot of help from the international community for the displaced people from Mosul and Nineveh, but there has been no sign of it here.

"The crisis that has hit Christians from Mosul and Nineveh is not just a shock: It is for us genocide. All voices have acknowledged that this is a crime against humanity!"

In July, the Islamic State expelled thousands of Christians, Yazidis, and Shia Muslims from lands it declared to be a caliphate. But one week before the ultimatum to leave Mosul, Warda said that the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan was already welcoming fleeing Christians.

"Not only is there security here, but the government is prepared to listen to our concerns. This became evident in the present refugee crisis. The Kurdish government has opened the borders to Christians."

However, Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana wrote that PR statements by the Iraqi government, e.g., "We are all Iraqis and all Iraq is ours," is like issuing checks without a bank account.

"Nice words and sympathy statements are not enough," said Youkhana. "There should be deeds and practices."

To that end, Aid to the Church in Need and the Knights of Columbus have both given more than $1 million to aid Christians in Iraq.