The plight of Iraqi Christians
The final report of Bishop Mounstephen’s review into the global persecution of Christians was published today. The review was commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (members of our team attended the launch back in January). Responding, CEO of The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, Mike Simpson, said:
“We contributed to this report, gathering evidence from the frontlines in northern Iraq. Our mission is to build peace among religious groups in this war-ravaged country. Given the severity of the violence in Iraq, particularly that suffered by the Christians, we believe the recommendations could have gone a lot further.
“Christianity is at existential risk in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. Since 2003, over 1 million Christians fled the country, reducing the size of the Christian population by nearly 80%. No other religious group has seen anything approaching this level of exodus from Iraq in modern times. One might call it an exodus of Biblical proportions.
The British government must do more
“There should be an end to the ‘faith-blind’ approach of British government agencies towards the needs of communities, which has so often been used as an excuse to do little or nothing to support Christians because of the perceived need to ensure that no favour is shown.
“The Foreign Secretary should use his position in government to ensure that there is a ‘joined-up’ approach with DfID to address the issue of the persecution of Christians. This will require practical and targeted support to the victims, such as to Iraqi Christians who fled ISIS and are now trying to rebuild their lives and their communities.”
Mike Simpson was interviewed about this important issue on Premier Christian Radio today. We will share this interview with you (subject to availability) in our weekly e-newsletter this Thursday.
Our full statement in response to Bishop Mounstephen’s report can be downloaded as a Word document from our website here.
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