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ICC Note: The Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East are often the ones left behind in the refugee flood leaving the region, even though they are the most vulnerable. Church leaders are calling for greater assistance for these communities both in the region and for those who need to leave.

12/02/2015 Middle East (AINA) – Christians from the Middle East are suffering the most but Western governments are ignoring their plight — according to a leading refugee relief coordinator — who warns that extremist Islamists are infiltrating groups seeking asylum in Europe.

Father Khalil Jaar, of the Messengers of Peace Association, said Christians are being “eliminated” by invading Daesh forces, who, he said, have marked them out as the main target.

The Jordan-based priest, who is providing shelter and schooling for thousands flooding into the capital, Amman, said that for this reason he was critical of Western governments — for example the UK — proposing to take in refugees from the main camps.

Fr Khalil emphasised that Christians and other minorities are not given an equal chance of seeking asylum in Europe.

Speaking in an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Fr Khalil said that some refugees entering Europe are Daesh sympathisers, evidence picked up from his many interviews with asylum seekers and reports received from Syria and Iraq.

He said he saw “a direct link” between the influx of Middle East refugees over the past few months and the Paris terrorist attack last month.

Fr Jaar said most of the refugees were not asylum seekers but economic migrants in search of a better life.

He said: “The West has totally failed to recognise what is going on in the Middle East.

“Most of the refugees flooding into Europe are people looking for a better life. If they were genuine asylum seekers, they would have accepted to stay in the first available country offering them sanctuary.

“The real refugees are left far behind.”

“Why is the West not doing more for Christians and other minorities? They are the ones who are suffering the most.

“If the Christians stay in Syria and Iraq, they risk being eliminated by Islamic extremists and if they seek sanctuary abroad in the main refugee camps, they suffer abuse from those already there.”

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