There’s an extraordinary moment in this week’s Holy Smoke podcast when the aid official supervising the resettlement of 12,000 Iraqi Christians says that the latter supported Donald Trump ‘100 per cent’ in the US elections because they felt betrayed by the Obama administration.
Stephen Rasche, legal counsel and head of resettlement programmes for the Chaldean Catholics of northern Iraq, confirms that this community – now on the verge of extinction, and due to run out of medicine in 45 days – has received no help from US aid agencies or the United Nations.
We recorded the episode on Friday, the day after Rasche had addressed MPs and peers in Parliament. One hopes they listened carefully, having themselves just been the targets of an Islamist attack.
The Christians from the Nineveh plain – still trapped in refugee camps after the defeat of Isis – understandably feel bitter towards their former Muslim neighbours, with whom they once enjoyed cordial relations.
As for the United States, they cannot understand why American aid agencies – following the example of the UN – casually abandoned them. So, says Rasche, they were all rooting for Trump in November’s election.
Whether he will also let them down remains to be seen, of course. Personally I don’t think you can rely on Trump for anything.
This is a powerful podcast episode: John Pontifex from Aid to the Church in Need – which stepped in when secular agencies turned a blind eye – describes the gloating Islamist persecution of Christians and desecration of their holy places.
Cristina Odone of the Legatum Institute, meanwhile, accuses the UN of deliberate neglect of ‘unfashionable’ Iraqi Christians. She suggests that secular aid agencies would have been falling over themselves to help if the refugees had been Muslim or gay.
We may be just weeks away from the final exodus of Christians from their historic homeland. I urge you to listen to the podcast and spread the word:
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