Churches of Kurdistan become asylum from ISIS for refugees

Erbil, October 15, 2014

Churches of the city of Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan, today are becoming a temporary home for dozens of Christians, Muslims, and Yazides (also Yezidi: a part of Iraqi Kurds who confess their own syncretic religion, a mixture of Zoroastrianism and ancient Mesopotamian religions), fled from the terror of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” extremists, reports the Copts Today news portal.


Nadia Henry, a former Iraqi MP who several days ago visited Kurdistan with a humanitarian convoy, related the present situation in the city to the Veto journalists: “There are very many refugees. Thousands of people entered Erbil alone. The number of these destitute people requires a great amount of humanitarian aid and there is constantly lack of it”. N. Henry has sharply denounced “the hushing up by the world community of the tragedy in Nineveh,” referring to this fact as to “a mockery” and “a crime”.

According to the politician, the overwhelming majority of refugees put the blame for banishment of religious minorities from their own homes on the republic’s leaders. “One of them said to me: “The Iraqi authorities have sold us, the Christians and Yazides, Iraqi Arab residents, to ISIS,” Nadia noted.

However, at the same time she especially noted the role of churches in support of settlers from the neighboring regions: “I saw myself how one of the Erbil churches became a true “cell of hope”, in fact organized like a beehive: each parish member is trying with all his or her strength to help the refugees who have found asylum in the church. And there are dozens and hundreds of such churches; local Christians are aiding everyone who has knocked on their door, without any questions about his or her denomination or ethnicity”.

Nadia Henry also points out that the Orthodox Church is striving to provide the refugees not only with shelter and food, but also with places for worship, and their children continue their studies at schools, functioning at churches.


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