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ICC Note: Thousands of refugees who fled Iraq have found temporary protection in Jordan, Lebanon, and other places around the region. They are grateful for the immense hospitality that has been shown to them by host communities, but are concerned about the future.

12/06/2014 Jordan(Yahoo News) Enjoying a rare moment of privacy, a young couple talks in hushed tones next to a Christmas tree in the corner of a sparse reception room at Amman’s Malkite Greek Catholic Church. Outside, the church’s small compound bustles as the 120 refugees living here go about their daily routine of cooking, laundering clothes, talking and waiting.

All are Christians who fled Iraq after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) advanced across the country’s north. They are among more than 5,000 Iraqi Christians granted temporary shelter in churches and homes throughout Jordan, and as they prepare for their first Christmas as refugees, they consider themselves lucky.

“Thank God we are here now and we have this,” said Najem Handaniyeh, waving his hand around the small single room where he lives with his wife and four children. The room consists of two bunk beds and a few donated cooking utensils; a donated portrait of Jesus hangs from a nail on the otherwise bare wall. “Any Christian still in our home is now either Muslim or dead.”

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