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.

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.”

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