It’s time for the EU to go further to protect Christians

It's time the EU gave more serious consideration as to how best it can use it’s diplomatic, trade and economic muscle to protect Christians.

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It’s time the EU gave more serious consideration as to how best it can use it’s diplomatic, trade and economic muscle to protect Christians

As EU foreign ministers today consider arming Kurdish forces fighting against the ISIS terrorist group in Iraq, they might well consider the plight of those Christians, especially children, caught in an unimaginably difficult situation.

ISIS forces in northern Iraq have previously issued a stark warning to Christians – pay a special tax, convert to Islam or face death. Sickeningly, however, they seem instead to have gone straight for the death sentence in unimaginably brutal ways.

Speaking recently to CNN, Mark Arabo, national spokesman for Iraqi Christians, has highlighted the extent of the brutality being inflicted, with beheadings, especially of children being seen as a favoured tactic by ISIS militants.

He has previously explained of ISIS:

“They are systematically beheading children, and mothers and fathers. The world hasn’t seen an evil like this for a generation. There’s actually a park in Mosul that they’ve actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick.”

Furthermore, Arabo has highlighted the cruelty of militants notionally offering safety for those prepared to pay a tax for their Christian beliefs, whilst effectively discounting this altogether. He continued:

“The letter that they sent out with those three items (convert, pay a fine or die), they did ask to pay a fine but actually after they pay a fine, they (ISIS militants) are actually taking over their wives and their daughters and making them into their wives. So really it’s convert or die, face death by the sword.”

Further still, news suggests also that ISIS is now actively recruiting children to kill Christians.

The reality is that the heart-breaking suffering being felt by Christians now under the threat of death in Iraq is just a small slice of an extensive cake.

Around the world, day in and day out in countries with which we in the UK have good relations with, such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, Christians are facing unimaginable persecution simply for wanting to pursue their beliefs, beliefs which give them hope.

As EU foreign ministers meet today, it is time they gave more serious consideration as to how best the EU can use it’s diplomatic, trade and economic muscle to protect Christians.

As the shadow foreign secretary. Douglas Alexander, wrote in the Telegraph a few days ago:

“The government should be doing more to speak out about the continued suffering of religious minorities, including Christians, inside Iraq. To do so would not be to support one faith over another – it would be to take a stand against oppression of our fellow human beings.”

He concluded:

“As millions unite in prayer, I hope the international community can unite in action. With the lives of thousands hanging in the balance, no one should be willing to walk by on the other side for fear of causing offence.”

11 Responses to “It’s time for the EU to go further to protect Christians”

  1. David Lindsay

    Would the Christians and the Yazidi be any better off under the Kurds?

    They are Sunni Muslims, but they strongly supported the overthrow of Ba’athism.

    That was founded by Christians, and it has always featured them in disproportionately high numbers both in Iraq and in Syria.

    Not so, the Peshmerga.

    I put this to my friend at Iraqi Christians in Need, and her, strictly personal but very well-informed and considered, reply was, “In the short term, to escape genocide. Long term, NO: they will be used as a pretext to add Nenevah (Mosul+) to Kurdistan.”

  2. Leon Wolfeson

    Israel does in fact have good relationships with the Kurds, but they keep it quiet for good reason – when they do anything for an Arab people, it tends to cause major diplomatic trouble (Iran and Syria have both used it as a pretext to campaign against a Kurdish state, for instance).

    And the reality is that the Kurds have, traditionally, been very open to freedom of worship, and that hasn’t changed – there’s a half-dozen small faiths in the area which are not suppressed. (Mandaeism, for example). There’s no reason to worry about religious suppression.

    (Political marginalisation because of Kurdish politics, in a wider Kurdistan, yes, but that’s better than the current situation)

  3. David Lindsay

    Israel does in fact have good relationships with the Kurds … an Arab people

    Can’t be that good. You literally do not know the first thing about them.

    Nor would having good relations with Israel inspire confidence in anyone to look after the region’s ancient indigenous Christians.

  4. swat

    I sse Iran as the key player in all this. They have the power to crush ISIS. Its a Regional solution. The West had best leave the ME.

  5. Leon Wolfeson

    Oh yes, I literally haven’t read what I’ve read because you pontificate so.

    And of course not, why, they must be like you. Right.

  6. Guest

    So the West should make it plain that they have no interest in their values they espouse, and companies are going to be enjoined from investing? Otherwise, oops, interest! Same for allowing people from the ME to visit…etc.

  7. SimonB

    Christians? Why are they special?

    We should help people who need it, and not by arming everyone.

  8. David Lindsay

    Singling out Christians for special treatment is indeed most un-Christlike.

    However, it is notable that no one much noticed when only Christians (still two a penny in Europe and America) were being persecuted by what is now the IS; indeed, this very site wanted to intervene militarily in support of the persecutors. But Yazidi are exotic.

    What do people think that the Kurds are, Quakers? The Christians have the gravest possible doubts about them, to put it mildly.

    We took out the only bulwark against Islamism, not only in the person of Saddam, who would of course have died at some point anyway, but far more seriously in the lunatic de-Baathification programme.

    Are there really any Kurds, as such, at all? Unlike, say, the Palestinians, they do not all speak the same language, or have anything very much else in common.

    The several Kurdish languages do not even comprise a single linguistic family. The only definition of a Kurdish language is “a language spoken by the Kurds”, who are themselves defined almost, if almost, only as the speakers of those languages.

    As for the view that multicultural counties never work, on that basis you would not want the Nineveh Plains in Kurdistan (or the Galilee in Israel, come to that), but in any case, what do you think that the United Kingdom is?

    Or what do you think that Great Britain was a mere 71 years after its creation? Iraq was only 71 years old when we tore the thing asunder. Think of Great Britain in 1778, a very multicultural country indeed.

  9. Guest

    Erm…The Kurds have a history of religious tolerance, there are sects in Kurdistan which have been forcibly suppressed in much of the Muslim world.

    As for your applogia for Saddam…

  10. David Lindsay

    He was better than what has replaced him. That is simply undeniable. In any case, he would probably have been dead by now.

    Nor was this unpredictable at the time. It was predicted by everyone outside the weird, cult-like political-media bubble around Tony Blair.

  11. ChrisC

    We’ve been waiting for years for people to defend atheists often from Christians get your priorities right

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