Flown to France, Iraqi Christians get
new chance at life
Few of the
refugees speak French. Most have never ridden in a plane, let alone
traveled to a Western country.
LOS ANGELES, CA
(Catholic Online): "There is no
future in Iraq. There can be no future between Muslims and
Christians here," one refugee says. "I leave my life. I'm
between sadness and happiness. But with DAECH (the Arabic
acronym for Islamic State), we can't come back," he says.
The nation of France has led European efforts to bring
humanitarian aid to refugees. The French government plane, an
Airbus A310, delivered 10 more tons of blankets, tents, jerry
cans and hygiene kits before transporting the refugees back to
"There are people sleeping outdoors at the moment, but the focus
of this delivery is to prepare for the thousands who will still
be here in the winter," a French diplomat said. "It's a
veritable ethnic cleansing that we've witnessed here."
France has since entered the military fray in the war against
Islamic State. French fighter jets last week launched strikes
inside Iraq for the first time as part of an international
coalition. The coalition's goal will be in pushing Islamic State
back from Iraq to its power base in Syria. It has also delivered
weapons, mostly machine guns and ammunition, to Kurdish
Under pressure from public opinion to admit more Christians from
the Middle East, France has already taken in around 100 people
since Islamic State launched its military offensive in Iraq in
Forty Christians arrived from northern Iraq at the end of
August. They were admitted according to strict criteria. The
families had to have family ties in France and sufficient
resources to survive there. Another 60 have also come by their
Few of the refugees speak French. Most have never ridden in a
plane, let alone traveled to a Western country.
"The situation there (in Qaraqosh) was impossible when DAECH
came," another refugee says. "They wanted Shariah. They wanted
to impose their Islam and they want no Christians.
"We escaped to Arbil from Qaraqosh at the start of August. There
were bombs and fighting between DAECH and the Peshmerga. DAECH
took everything: food, televisions, refrigerator, everything.
It's difficult to stay here as a Christian."