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European official rues plight of Iraq’s Christians, calls for aid cut to Baghdad

Catholic World News - December 02, 2013

The chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq lamented the plight of Iraqi Christians and called upon the European Union to cut its aid to the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Struan Stevenson, quoted on the CNN web site, rued “the gradual erosion of Iraq’s ancient Christian community, which has now dwindled from 1.5 million to an estimated 300,000. One of the oldest Christian communities in the world, which can trace its origins back to the time of Christ, now faces extinction because of virtual ethnic cleansing and constant vicious bombings, assassinations and kidnappings. The autonomous region of Kurdistan is the only safe haven for Christians and many other ethnic minorities who have found themselves under constant attack in Iraq.”

“Kurdistan has a tradition of providing a safe haven for refugees and I was able to visit some massive camps where Syrians, fleeing from the civil war in their country, have been given food and shelter,” he added. “The EU must stop sending such financial aid to Baghdad, where it simply disappears, but must instead give it directly to the NGOs who are actively helping the Syrian refugees in Iraq.”

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