26 June 2015, The Tablet

Maronite head demands help for the exiled Iraqi Christians

by Joseph Ataman

The head of the Maronite Church has condemned the “international silence” over the suffering of Iraq's Christians, during a one-day visit to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. At the head of a Lebanese-Italian delegation to visit those who have fled Islamic State (IS) persecution, Patriarch Boutros Rai demanded action from the international  community to help Iraqi Christians stay in their homeland.

“Christians should remain in Iraq because their history is rooted in Iraq, where they have lived alongside Muslims and built common civilisations,” Rai said. “Their future is here too and they cannot let go of this land."

The delegation included the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan Angelo Scola, who told Voice of Lebanon radio that the trip, “carries a message of solidarity with the Christians”.

Patriarch Rai's delegation toured social centres and sites that house the estimated 10,000 Christians that fled overnight from Mosul as IS advanced last August. 

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