First Christians from Iraq arrive in France

August 7, 2014

Eleven members of the same family arrived in Paris on Thursday, August 7 after fleeing religious persecution in Iraq, where troops of the Islamic state continue to advance. In mid-July, Christians in Mossoul, the second-largest city in Iraq, were forced to flee after troops issued an ultimatum: convert, flee or be killed. The family was granted a visa for asylum for persecution.

According to the Association of Support for Minorities of the East (AEMO), the family is the first Christian family to benefit from this status since the government announced on July 28 that it would welcome Christian refugees. The family arrived from Baghdad “arms full of bags and accompanied by half a dozen activists.”

Nabeel Yonan Yousif, 53 years old, thanked the French government. He added, “The situation for Christians in Iraq is disastrous. They treat us like miscreants. I hope there will be a move to save other Christians who are threatened, notably in Mossoul.”

After Kurdish forces retreated Jihadists took Qaraqosh, the city with the largest Christian population. Qaraqosh had over 50,000 citizens with a majority Christian population and had also housed those who fled from Mossoul.