For those Christians who currently remain in Iraq life is tough. Most are internally displaced people (IDPs) who have been forced from their homes and are now living in tents, caravans, basements or sharing crowded accommodation with other families. Those from the villages of the Nineveh Plain may have lost everything when Islamic State advanced. Now that the Iraqi army has pushed back the terrorists, it is hoped that families will be able to return, but often it is to homes that are little more than rubble or otherwise have been stripped of all furnishings and other belongings.
We are lobbying governments at home and abroad to take concerted action to address the tragic circumstances of these people. Last week we were at the House of Lords meeting with Lord Alton and Baroness Nicholson, and then a meeting with the Department for International Development. We are pressing for action to provide relief and reconstruction resources directly to the Christians in northern Iraq and to pressure the Iraqi government to provide the necessary security to ensure that families feel safe enough to return to their homes.
Later this month I will be in Brussels to meet with Lars Adaktusson, a prominent MEP from the Swedish Christian Democrats who was part of the recent conference: ‘A Future for Christians in Iraq’. 60 representatives attended this conference including politicians from Iraqi Christian parties, leading Iraqi church bishops and ministers, members of the Kurdish Regional Government, Yazidis, Turkmen, Ka’kai, and NGOs including FRRME (we were a sponsoring partner), along with representatives from the EPP (the largest political group in the European Parliament) and the US State Department.
Following presentations there was a signing of a joint position paper on reconstruction, the right to return, reconciliation, and security. Lars Adaktusson restated the demands of Iraqi Christians for the right to live in their own homes freely and safely with the opportunity to follow their Christian faith as equal citizens in Iraqi society. When I meet with Lars later this month we hope to schedule a visit to Baghdad to meet with senior political and religious leaders there.
|Father Emmanuel’s funeral service in Amman
I would also like to share some words of condolence at the passing of Father Emmanuel of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Amman. He was a friend and partner of the foundation whose compassion and beneficence was widely known. With our support, he took in many Iraqi Christian refugees who had nowhere else to go. His funeral was attended by hundreds of people including our Project Officer in Jordan, Helena Scott. For those with access to Facebook, footage from the service can be viewed on the Noursat Jordan page here. Needless to say, with your support we will continue working with our church partners in Jordan.
Please make a donation
If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.
American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.
Alternatively, you can make a donation to our humanitarian appeal by clicking here.