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Iraqi priest: It's not enough to pray for persecuted Christians. Do something.

2015-10-03

The seminary in Baghdad that Father Rebwar studied at was destroyed. But it was rebuilt here in Erbil, where thousands of people fleeing the Islamic State have gone. Those Christians were already persecuted, but what happened a year ago with the Islamic State has been the most savage persecution they've faced yet. Father Rebwar has called for action to stop this abuse.

FR. REBWAR BASA
Priest
"If the house of my neighbor is ablaze, I cannot just watch and say that I'll pray for him. Prayer is important but I must do something to put out that fire. If not, the fire will come to my own house.”

He recalls that his country has been at war since he was a child. Social fracturing, a bad political situation, and continuous conflict have created a perfect environment for jihadism to flourish, and for Christians to be persecuted.

FR. REBWAR BASA
Priest
"Many of our Christian children have died in our wars but now they have accused us of being with the West, with America. Then we come here, and they see us as Christians. They see us as Iraqis so we look like we could be terrorists. There we are victims of terrorism, but in Europe people are suspicious of us.”

There is no simple solution for the Middle East, he said. But he argued that eliminating the Islamic State is the most important thing to do now.

FR. REBWAR BASA
Priest
"Some American politicians said it would take 10 or 20 years. We don't expect the problem to be solved 100% right now. But one must make a decision. We must liberate the occupied areas that ISIS is still in. Otherwise, the radicals are strengthened further.”

Perhaps most troubling is that the situation for thousands of refugees simply hasn't changed in the last year. He said they're grateful to receive humanitarian aid but said it's not a solution. Instead, they just want to have their old lives back.


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