Christians who fled violence in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul attend a mass in Irbil, capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. ‘More than a decade of war has seen the Christian people of Iraq driven from their homes.’ Photograph: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty
Christians, Yazidis and other minority groups have been crushed by the heavy armor of ISIS and other rebel groups in the Middle East. What happened to peaceably living together in this world. For those minorities in the Middle East, peace is a distant memory.
…the outbreaks of murderous hostility to Christians are much less organised, although both Sunni and Shia forces, when they are not slaughtering each other for their heresies, have proved capable of slaughtering Christians for their religions too.
Where should they go, and what should we do to help them? Neither question has an easy answer. The fantasy that western military intervention could ever produce a more secure and stable Middle East has been discredited since the invasion of Iraq.
…the hope must be that these people can return to their ancestral homes once peace comes. There is nowhere in the region that would be suitable for large-scale resettlement anyway.
The aid that we give must be sustained: the generous aid this government has given to refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan has done far more good than the scattering of bombs so noisily dropped on Isis. In the end, though, what the Christians of the Middle East need is the same as their Muslim neighbours, or anyone else – peace, justice and security. There may be very little that this government can do on the ground, but those should be the aims of our policy.