Christians of Mosul thank Jordan on their way to the airport

Christians of Mosul thank Jordan on their way to the airport

By Fr. Rifat Bader

Two years ago, Jordan welcomed them with open arms. Now, they pack their luggage leaving for far off countries after they have obtained “visas” that entitle them not only to leave Jordan but rather to leave the entire Middle East. They are the Christians of Mosul whose presence with us provided several lessons and produced streams of tears.

They arrived in Jordan after having been forcibly displaced as a result of political violence or rather religious violence and persecution. It is hard to believe that the 21st century replicates events that took first in the early centuries with regards to the brutal persecution of the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have been uprooted from the Nineveh Plain, namely from Mosul and nearby towns and villages, after having lived there for hundreds of years.

As the people of Iraq, or a number of their families, leave the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, what kind of impressions and lessons will they leave behind?

The first impression is that they have a great sense of gratitude to Jordan, or rather to the Jordanian family, represented by its leadership and people. This group of the “refugees” has been the focus of attention of His Majesty the King as he talked about them at all the international forums in their capacity as an inseparable part of the Christians of the Orient. His Majesty the King asserted repeatedly that the Christian Arab identity “is a duty rather than a favor.” (September 3, 2013)

His Majesty the King presented the host centers with beds on which the suffering and tearful eyes of the Christians of Mosul slept. They used to proudly say, “We sleep on Royal beds.” The meeting with the Jordanian family in Karak (on Christmas day 2014) included families who shook hands with His Majesty the King and thanked him for his support which will go down in history.

Furthermore, the second impression deals with the image conveyed by Islam. It has become clear that the state calling itself Islamic is the side responsible for driving people out of their homes. Yet, things have to be clarified since this forcible displacement was conducted by “Outlaws of Islam” whereas true Islam was revealed in Jordan as Muslim delegations visited housing centers in Jordan’s cities and villages to express solidarity and to convey a helping hand. The displaced people of Mosul have left while they know that religion implies tolerance and love, rather than killing and intimidation.

Caritas Jordan, which this year marks its 50th anniversary, has undertaken heroic deeds by not only providing the refugees with their daily sustenance but also by restoring to them hope, dignity, and the sense of security. Caritas prepared lists with the names of arrivals, oversaw their assignment to the various housing centers that were prepared in advance, supervised the movement of families into rented houses, provided healthcare services, supervised the education process in cooperation with the Italian Episcopal Conference, and opened the Garden of Mercy so as to enable the Iraqis to make use of their time by putting their expertise and talents to use. Caritas also cooperated with the UAE embassy by providing aid to several families and by renting houses for them for two years.

The major impression learned from the people of Mosul is that there are certain life issues that are not subject to bargaining, namely dignity, faith, solidarity as well as a number of sublime spiritual and humane values… top of which is love.

O dear people of Mosul… blessings with hopes to meet with you later.

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