- Sep 30, 2020
Out of all the refugees who arrived between President Trump’s inauguration and June 30, about half were Christians and 38 percent were Muslims, according to data released Wednesday (July 12). But when monthly figures are viewed, the data (originally from the U.S. State Department) reveals a steady decline for Muslims, from about 50 percent of refugees in February to 31 percent in June.
After a new report showed that religious minorities in Northern Iraq fled the ISIS onslaught in 2014 into Kurdistan, including 70,000 Christians who took refuge in Erbil, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the government “to take steps to ensure that these communities realize their rights.”
“They’re exhausted, with urgent needs for food and children’s clothing,” Nabil Shukrallah of the city’s Evangelical Church said, as one father carried off a sick infant to be evacuated by ambulance. “They’re terrified of the violence and brutality of the terrorists.”
“The longer the conflict goes in Syria, the more likely Christians are going to just be continuing to leave at the rate they’ve been leaving from the country,” Phillippe Nassif, executive director of the group In Defense of Christians, said. He likes the idea of creating safe zones to keep minorities in the country.
“Most Americans, if you ask them, are quite supportive of federal aid, and they think it’s about 20 percent of the federal budget. When you ask them how much it should be, they think, not that much, about 10 percent. When you tell them that it’s less than 1 percent of the budget, they’re shocked,” said Stephen M. Colecchi, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace at the USCCB.
Father Adday, the only Chaldean Catholic priest allowed to do pastoral work in Turkey, travels thousands of miles each year to help the community of Iraqi Christian refugees in the country. Adday has baptized, married and administered the last rites to hundreds since he was ordained.