Last week a group of NGOs, including a representative from our Foundation, met with MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels. The focus of the meeting was the persecuted church in the Middle East.

The desecrated and abandoned Church of the Immaculate Conception in the northern Iraqi town of Qaraqosh (photograph courtesy of FRRME trustee, Christopher Segar)

Many churches in the north of Iraq, particularly those in Mosul and the surrounding area, have been desecrated by ISIS – the walls covered in graffiti, the pews burnt, the ceilings blackened by fire. In the case of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh (pictured above), the courtyard was used as a firing range. Thankfully, St George’s in Baghdad, which remains the only Anglican church in Iraq, endures, as does our health clinic in the church grounds which continues to treat people of all faiths.

Easter service at St George’s Church in Baghdad

However, despite the odd bit of good news, the future for Iraqi Christians looks very grim. In Brussels we presented MEPs with the facts: 175,000 Christians in Iraq have been utterly dependent these past 4 years on Churches and faith NGOs. While British and American governments have been very generous with taxpayers’ money, almost none of the aid given has reached the Christians. According to the 2011 census, the largest group in the UK is no longer Christian but that of “no faith”. Perhaps this is reflected in Government policy.

Children in the displacement camps of Iraqi Kurdistan this week (photograph courtesy of Dr Sarah Ahmed, FRRME’s Director of Operations in the Middle East)

According to figures released under a Freedom of Information Act request, less than 1% of refugees entering Europe are Christian or Yazidi, despite both groups being designated by the international community as victims of genocide. Private donations are drying up and yet many Christians are without any other form of funding. Despite our continued lobbying efforts, there has been a wall of silence from key policy makers and the mainstream media on this important issue.

With your support we continue to feed 7,000 displaced Christians in Iraq and Jordan through our food relief programmes (see above infographic). We hope in the near future that western governments, not just Christians in the West, will consider supporting the Christians of Iraq and in other countries in the Middle East where they are being persecuted. They have suffered for far too long.

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Thank you for your support,
The FRRME Team