Suffering of Iraqi Christians is beyond description

Posted by Fr. Tere on 09/26/2014

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Suffering of Iraqi Christians is beyond description’

THE SUFFERING of Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the depredations of the Islamic State (ISIS) are beyond description, the vicar-general of the Diocese of Zanzibar reports following a visit to Kurdistan last week. The Rev Jerry Kramer writes: “Right now we’re processing all that we saw and experienced firsthand. Honestly, we don’t have the words at the moment. The suffering is so immense. The magnitude of the disaster is beyond comprehension.” Fr Kramer, who served as the rector of an Episcopal congregation in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and was one of the leaders in the grassroots campaign to rebuild the city, but currently is a missionary in Tanzania with Love for the Least ministries stated: “Christians were given 48 hours to leave their homes. “Some paid to stay or converted to Islam.

They were all crucified, beheaded or shot. “Those who left were stripped of all their possessions, allowed to leave with only the clothes on their backs. Now they have absolutely nothing and cannot return home. Isis has destroyed their villages and placed landmines all around.” In Kurdistan “Christians are not in camps. They have scattered to villages and family all across the region. The average village is overflowing with refugees. They need food. They have no clothes. They need heaters and cookers. It will soon be bitter cold. Relief is not getting to them.” They are also in “total shock. They have lost everything. They want to go home and can’t. Some were betrayed by their Muslim neighbours with whom they lived for generations. “Their neighbours called in ISIS, giving their location away, to come and exterminate them. The hurt runs very deep. If you hug a refugee for more than three seconds, they break down and cry,” he said. Fr Kramer observed that the crisis in Iraq is “so massive that one organisation is not going to get it done. No chance. It’s going to take a network of small frontline relief operations. “We’ve learned from our Katrina experience that small, grassroots is always better. Also, it’s ideal to support the local Church in its ministry. Help them help themselves and their communities. In this way we are pouring into the local Church for the long term.” Fr Kramer stated that he will be returning to Kurdistan and is planning on setting up a base of operations approximately six miles from the Mosul Dam to assist local Christian leaders in feeding and housing the refugees. He urged Christians round the world to support the relief efforts underway asking people to “pray for the broken Body of Christ, our brothers and sisters in their time of need.”

 

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