In latest appeal, Chaldean leader describes conditions in refugee camps.
Since August 6, when thousands of Christians fled an onslaught of Islamic militants in northern Iraq, no "concrete solutions" to the crisis have been found, said Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Louis Sako of Baghdad in a new appeal Sunday.
One year after the attacks, Mina Thabet can still see the ruins in his mind -- a seemingly endless series of scorched, hollowed-out church buildings, schools, homes and businesses stretching out across Egypt.
On Aug. 14, 2013, thousands of Muslims began a four-day rampage throughout the country seeking revenge for the military-backed, popular ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. They reportedly attacked anything remotely associated with Christ, Christians or Christianity.
This weekend, the international community appeared to finally wake to the looming humanitarian crisis in Amerli, a town of 12,000 Shiite Turkmen in northern Iraq that has been under attack by the Islamic State for more than 60 days. On Saturday, Nickolay Mladenov, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq, urged the international community in a tweet “to relieve the #Amerli siege and ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance.”
Amerli is the only major Shiite community still behind the Islamic State’s front lines. In nearby towns, Shiite Turkmen families captured by the Islamic State have been split up, men and boys taken to be killed and women and girls bused away to be used as human shields, sold as chattel and sometimes raped and murdered.
For all of its internal tribulations, there is no doubt that Egypt is a coherent entity, deeply anchored in history and in the consciousness of its population. For all of the problems confronting the Coptic Christian community, no one doubts that they are as Egyptian as the Muslim majority.
The horror stories emerging from northern Iraq, as well as the continuing slaughter in Syria’s civil war, point to a tectonic shift in the Middle East. Almost 100 years after World War I, the regional state system established after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire is unraveling.
Essam Demian, brother of Emad Domian, who was killed in Sahel Salim village in Assuit governorate (Upper Egypt) a year ago, said, “The cases of ransom and royalties imposed on Copts in the governorate have increased amid silence of the security forces. More than 250 Copts, some of them physicians or pharmacists, paid ransoms” (presumably over the past three years).
Coptic Solidarity is a U.S. public charity organization under section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are deductible under Section 170 of the Code.
Coptic Solidarity 2014 Conference
The Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on June 26-28, 2014.