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ICC Note: With more than 100,000 Christians displaced from their homes, Christian leaders have been frustrated about the lack of assistance that has been given to them by the Iraqi government in Baghdad. The massive humanitarian need has largely fallen on the burden of local churches, NGOs, and the international community, while the Iraqi government has shown a limited ability to respond to these needs.

10/08/2014 Iraq (Patheos) – An Iraqi bishop whose community is hosting more than 70,000 Christians who fled violence in Mosul and its surroundings has expressed dismay at the national government in Baghdad for failing to offer assistance.

“The reality is that Christians have received no support from the central government. They have done nothing for them, absolutely nothing,” Archbishop Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Archeparchy of Erbil told Christian charity Aid to the Church in Need Oct. 5.

“The central government is to blame. It has not fulfilled its commitment to the people. The government in Baghdad received a lot of help from the international community for the displaced people from Mosul and Nineveh – but there has been no sign of it here.”

Archbishop Warda added that the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan – of which Erbil is the capital – had made it clear that it is unable to offer financial assistance because it had ceased receiving subsidies from the national authorities.

Christians’ concerns about the Iraqi national government, and their more positive relationship with the Iraqi Kurdish government, are not new, however.

The Islamic State, a militant Sunni Islamist organization, was early this year among the rebels fighting in the Syrian civil war, but it spread its operations to Iraq in the spring, and took control of Mosul and swaths of territory in north and west Iraq in June.

In mid-July, the Islamic State effectively expelled thousands of Christians, Yazidis, and Shia Muslims from its territory, which it declared to be a caliphate.

On July 11 – one week before the ultimatum which dramatically increased the numbers fleeing Mosul – Archbishop Warda had told Aid to the Church in Need that the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan was welcoming the fleeing Christians, and that they had a future there.

“Not only is there security here, but the government is prepared to listen to our concerns. This became evident in the present refugee crisis,” the archbishop told Aid to the Church in Need. “The Kurdish government has opened the borders to Christians.”

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