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ICC Note: Speaking to a gathering of Middle Eastern Church leaders, Chaldean Archbishop Meram expressed his concern and support for Christians across the Middle East. In recent months jihadi militants “have violently purged cities in Iraq and Syria of their Christian and other minorities.” The issue though is one that has been building for years as Christians have been defamed through education and media as infidels and outsiders, sowing the seeds for this kind of religious cleansing.

10/20/2014 Iraq (Vatican Radio) – A Middle East without its Christians would be like a garden without flowers: that’s what Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Thomas Meram of Urmia, Deputy President of the Iranian Bishops Conference, says about the persecution of Christians in the region. Jihadi militants like Islamic State (also known as ISIS or Daesh) in recent months have violently purged cities in Iraq and Syria of their Christians and other minorities.

Archbishop Meram accompanied Patriarch Louis Sako to Jordan last week. The Chaldean Patriarch was one of six Orthodox and Catholic eastern rite Church leaders from neighboring countries to attend a meeting with King Abdullah and Prince Ghazi, King Abdullah’s personal envoy and adviser for religious and cultural affairs.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Meram observes, “The king was very open and accepting of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.” The Hashemite kingdom is hosting 1.5 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees — only half of whom are officially registered.

Jordanian King committed to protecting Christian identity and existence

The King expressed his solidarity with the region’s Christians, saying that said that the hatred, terrorism and fanaticism spread by extremist groups have nothing to do with the values the three monotheistic religions promote. He stressed the role of Christians in building Arab-Islamic identity throughout history and underlined Jordan’s commitment to protecting the identity and existence of Arab Christians.

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