For families in Iraq, every day has the potential of being filled with terrorizing acts of violence, murder, kidnapping, and bombing. For Iraqi Christians these horrors are even more common. As a minority population in this conflict-ridden country, Christians are facing persecution on a massive scale. As a result of similar persecution, more than two million Iraqi people have fled the country to find safety in neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, or Syria. CRWRC is responding to their current needs.
"A year ago, the plight of the Christian community was not very well known," said Michel Gabaudan of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on December 15, 2006 to the Associated Press. "But that has changed, because we now have very clear evidence that they have been persecuted."
"We have reports of Christian women who don't wear head scarves being condemned to death in certain villages, or being gunned down by radicals without the police being able to protect them," reported CRWRC Relief Team Leader, Jacob Kramer. "No wonder then that large numbers of Iraqi Christians are fleeing for Syria and Jordan to find safety in the church and asking for help."
In fact, fewer than 500,000 Christians now remain in Iraq and more are leaving every day. Yet, the new life they find in countries like Jordan, Lebanon, or Syria is not easy. They, along with other Iraqi refugees, have fled Iraq with little more than the clothing on their backs and a family photo. They need food, water, shelter, and livelihoods if they are to survive in their new homes.
CRWRC is working with Christian churches in Syria and Jordan to equip them to meet the needs of the refugees in their midst. This assistance will be extended to Christian and non-Christian refugees who are in need.
"With your help, refugees will reach these churches and find practical expressions of your solidarity and love," explained Kramer. "We can provide food and basic medicine, a warm blanket and school books for children, so they will feel a bit less a stranger in the land."
Donations to support this effort can be directed towards "Iraq Relief." These can be made online by clicking here (in Canada, please go to Canada Helps). You can also give by calling 1-800-552-7972 (in the US) or 1-800-730-3490 (in Canada).