Christians in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, are fleeing the city after Islamic State soldiers captured the city a few months ago; many have now found refuge in Jordan.
The soldiers captured the city in June and gave Christians a day to decide if they wanted to convert, pay a tax or be killed.
It was “the last breath,” said Radwan Shamra, one of 4,000 Iraqi Christians from Mosul who fled to Jordan. “We waited as long as possible until we knew we would die if we remained.”
Christians are reportedly fleeing parts of Arab lands where they are facing religious intolerance.
The Jordanian government has opened the country to Iraq’s Christians.
Hasan Abu Hanieh, a Jordanian political analyst, said the government’s decision was both a humanitarian and strategic move.
“The government can show the world that Jordan has a policy that seeks to protect minorities, unlike its neighbors,” he said.
Caritas, an international Christian charity, has helped Iraq’s Christians come to Jordan. Payment for visas was waived and churches in Jordan have stepped up to shelter and feed refugees.
Reportedly, about 500 of the Christian refugees are living in community halls in churches. Others are living with families.
Publication date: October 27, 2014