Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Kurdistan Offers Peace and Hardship to Iraqi Christians Fleeing Baghdad

As reported in an article written by Abdel Hamid Zebari for the Middle East Times, “Iraq and the rest of the world are rightly worried about Shiite and Sunni Muslims forced to flee their homes around the country because of raging communal violence.” However, Zebari says, “the exodus of Christians from the capital has not received the same attention.”

Imad Matti and his family have just moved outside of the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil. The reason for this, Matti says, is “we don’t have any choice. We are afraid of the snakes and scorpions, especially with the children, but it’s better than sleeping without a roof.” According to the article, they are fleeing a situation where “threats from armed groups and attacks on businesses are rife.”

Zebari reports that “Christian leaders are reluctant to speak out about the problems faced by their congregations.” Instead, the Arab League’s representative, Mokhtar Lamani of Morocco drew attention to “a problem which he said has affected all of Iraq’s religious minorities, not just Christians,” Zebari says.

According to the article, it is estimated that “3,500 Christian families who had received threats have fled the capital for the relative safety of Kurdistan.” The sudden influx of Christians has made finding accommodations very difficult, reports Zebari. “Kurdish authorities give some families $100 a month, but that is not enough for Imad Matti to rent a home.” Zebari reports that there are “believed to be around 800,000 Christians still in Iraq.”

To read this article in full click here.


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