IRAQ – “How can we possibly live somewhere we don’t feel welcome or safe?” ask Iraq’s Christians
Qaraqosh used to be the largest Christian town in Iraq. Before Islamic State (IS) invaded in 2014, 95% of its 50,000 residents were Christians. But even though Qaraqosh was liberated from IS five months ago, it remains a ghost town, inhabited almost exclusively by soldiers because the former residents feel they cannot return.
“It was not just Daesh [IS] who destroyed our homes, it was also our neighbours, the ones we considered our friends,” explains an 80-year-old Christian now living in a Christian camp in Erbil. As the Christians fled from IS, Sunni Muslims from surrounding villages arrived on tractors and lorries and looted their houses. “Our neighbours betrayed us and the Iraqi army did nothing to stop Daesh. How can we possibly live somewhere we don’t feel welcome or safe?”
From Daily Telegraph here
NIGERIA – Christians facing “continuous killings” at hands of Fulani herdsman, as calls grow for government to act
Nigerian church leaders have called on the government to act to aid Christians in the predominantly Muslim north of the country, who are facing “continuous killings by [Fulani] herdsmen”. At a conference in Kaduna State, where Christians have been targeted by both Boko Haram and Islamist Fulani militants, the Rev. Amos Kiri stated that believers have “suffered enough from the hands of the herdsmen”.
In January 2017, the Christian Association of Nigeria organised mass protests and issued a statement calling on Nigeria’s Muslim president, Muhammadu Buhari, to take action to defend Christians. However, attacks have continued – more than 30 people were slaughtered by Fulani in a mainly Christian villageon 21 March – and Nigeria’s believers are increasingly questioning Buhari’s commitment to defeating Islamist violence.
From Global Christian News here
AUSTRALIA – Renewed effort to persuade Australian Parliament to declare IS killing of Christians and Yazidis as genocide
An Australian MP has begun a new effort to persuade the Australian government to formally recognise as genocide the killing of Christians and Yazidis by Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. Michael Sukkar, a Lebanese Christian, is the Coalition MP proposing the new parliamentary motion. He says, “The persecution and attempted genocide of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East has been occurring for centuries. It has now reached its zenith with the bloodthirsty and barbaric Daesh [IS] attempting to wipe all Christians and Yazidis from the Middle East.” A similar motion was put forward in the Australian Parliament last year, but never debated.
To date, the UK Parliament, European Parliament and US government have all officially recognised the killing of Christians by IS as genocide; a motion to do likewise in the Canadian Parliament was defeated when Liberal MPs voted against it in 2016. Sukkar also stated: “Sadly the silence has been deafening from large parts of the Western media and political class to these atrocities ”.
From The Australian here
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – Islamist Seleka militia murder 50 people in indiscriminate attacks on Christian communities
At least 50 people were killed in separate attacks last week on three Christian communities in the central Bambari region, around 230 miles north-east of Bangui. Eyewitnesses stated that Islamist militia “fired indiscriminately on the inhabitants”. Despite the presence of a UN peacekeeping force, Christians in the CAR continue to experience violent attacks from Islamist Seleka, who are refusing to accept the result of last year’s elections, which led to a Christian becoming president of this Christian-majority nation.
From Global Christian News here