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Persecution of Christians - Aid to the Church in Need

St Benedict’s students heard an Iraqi Church leader’s account of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and found out how  Aid to the Church in Need has helped to support displaced Christians.

Finding out about ACN's support of persecuted Christians in Iraq
Neville Kyrke-Smith (National Director, ACN), Alec Kerr, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq; Evan Hobson and Jonathan Edgar (Lay Chaplain at St Benedict's)

Evan Hobson (Year 12) writes:

St Benedict’s pupils were invited to the House of Commons to attend an event organised by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), one of the charities we supported on St Benedict’s Day. The event was hosted and chaired by MPs Chris Green and Mike Kane, and was attend by other members of both Houses.

Christians in Iraq numbered more than 1.5 million before 2003 and latest reports say that, following the Daesh (ISIS) genocide in 2014-17, Christians are now down to well below 150,000.

The event was an opportunity to hear from Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, northern Iraq, on the experience of Christians in Iraq and the Middle East. Christians in Iraq numbered more than 1.5 million before 2003 and latest reports say that, following the Daesh (ISIS) genocide in 2014-17, Christians are now down to well below 150,000. Archbishop Warda said that, during their occupation of ancient Christian villages in the Nineveh plains, Daesh militants came close to destroying “the beating heart of our community”.

The archbishop appealed to the UK government to provide direct aid to Christians and others who have suffered genocide in Iraq. Earlier that day, Archbishop Warda had met with the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to address these issues.

Supporting persecuted Christians in iraq
Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil meets the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt

Archbishop Warda spoke not only of the persecution suffered by Christians under ISIS, but also the daily, systematic persecution that carries on through the region. He also talked about the key work being done by ACN and other charities in supporting the Christian communities in the Nineveh Valley in particular, rebuilding 2,000 homes, as well as schools, hospitals and universities. He spoke of the difficulties of relying on governments to provide aid and thus the importance of continuing support from ACN.

 

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