A campaign to raise funds for persecuted Christians and other minorities in Iraq is now underway and is asking the faithful to give up a superfluous gift this Christmas to send refugees a gift that will provide them with the essentials of life.
AsiaNews.com is reporting on the campaign which is aimed at helping refugees who fled Mosul and the Nineveh Plain two years ago to escape the encroachment of ISIS. Even though Iraqi troops are now advancing into this territory with the hopes of freeing it, people are still being forced to flee and attempt to survive in their adopted homeland of Kurdistan.
“Every day there is joy and tears,” AsiaNews reports. “Joy because Iraqi troops are advancing victoriously and freeing many villages and towns, and tears for the images of the destruction carried out by Jihadis against churches and houses, as well as stories of abuse against women and the massacres perpetrated by mad Daesh [ISIS] militants.”
Fr Samir Youssef, a parish priest in the diocese of Amadiya (Kurdistan), who has personally helped 3,500 displaced Christian, Muslim and Yazidi families, issued an appeal in a recent letter that detailed the savagery these people have endured.
“Very upsetting stories emerge from the people from areas liberated from the jihadists near Mosul, it would make you cry to hear how the civilian population was treated, especially women,” he writes.
“How so many people were killed, decapitated. How in every neighborhood a house was converted by the militiamen into a prison where the women were sex slaves of the militiamen. Several mass graves have been discovered, and in one of these the bodies of about 200 people were found. Among them were women and children. Only the Lord knows what else the Daesh jihadists did . . . in the city of Mosul.”
As for the refugees who have fled, without the help of AsiaNews and other friends around the world, their situation will soon be very dire.
“Here, in Iraqi Kurdistan, the winter has already begun and many children and many women use the same, clothing as last year, the only clothes they have. Two weeks ago we bought some second hand clothes, but not enough for everyone and even the shoes are lacking. And then the kerosene for heating, essential to combat the cold that no humanitarian organization or government has yet offered. And the urgency is beginning to be felt.”
He continues: “We try every week to buy quantities of rice, oil, and distribute them. Without speaking of the families who, each month, need cash; my parish also pays rents of many houses that have been home to refugee families for over two years. Here every pastor has assumed this responsibility and we try as much as possible to help these people until this crisis is over.”
Other expenses include the bus tickets the children must purchase in order to attend school, the cost of which is being absorbed by the local parish.
There are hundreds of thousands of these refugees in need of help which is why AsiaNews is renewing its “Adopt a Christian from Mosul” campaign in order to raise critically needed funds.
“We do not ask for a superfluous gift, like those we receive or make during the holidays, but one that is for things that are essential for life, like heating, rent, and school. Let us give up superfluous gifts and provide something essential for the refugees,” AsiaNews reports.
Click here for information on how to donate to this critical need.
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