France, Friend Of Iraqi Christians
The nation that opposed the 2003 US attack against Iraq is now making a bold humanitarian offer to that nation’s Christian internal refugees. From the BBC:
The French government says it is ready to offer asylum to Iraqi Christians forced to flee by Islamist militants in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Many fled Mosul after the Islamic State (IS) group which seized much of northern Iraq told them to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death.
Iraq is home to one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities.
Two top ministers said, “We are ready, if they so desire, to help facilitate asylum on our territory.”
The flight of Christians in the face of Islamic State was described at the weekend by the vicar of Baghdad’s Anglican church, Canon Andrew White, as bringing “the end of Christianity very near” in Iraq. “Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing,” he said to BBC Radio Four. “We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off.”
In 2003, before the allied invasion, there were about a million Christians, if not more, in Iraq. About three quarters have left since amid the civil war and targeted attacks by jihadists.
And what of our nation, whose previous government did so much to ruin the lives of Iraq’s Christians? Why is Washington silent? Is their no room in our country for Christians whose families have been in Iraq for nearly 2,000 years — until the US invasion caused the condition that led to their exile?
Ours is a big country, filled with well-off and not-so-well-off churches that would surely be willing to help resettle and support these refugee families. In my little Louisiana town, I bet we could put together enough support from the parish’s churches to support an Iraqi Christian refugee family. As a Christian and an American, it is a matter of shame to me that France, which did not participate in the war that has resulted in the destruction of Iraqi Christianity, a secular nation where relatively few people go to church, is opening its doors to these displaced and persecuted Christians.
Why not us?
What is wrong with us?
Vive la France! Yes, there’s probably some deeply cynical and political reason that Paris is doing this. But still, they’re doing it, and that’s probably the only thing that matters to refugee families. So, encore: vive la France!