Despite the good intentions, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali says that calls to grant Iraq’s imperiled Christian population asylum in Britain must not help Islamic extremists “cleanse” the region. The Iraq is home to some of the most ancient Christian communities in the world, Bishop Nazir-Ali insists that their future in Iraq needs to be protected by international forces.
Michael Nazir-Ali was bishop of Rochester from 1994 – 2009. As the first non-white diocesan bishop in the Church of England and expert in relations between Christianity and Islam, he has been outspoken on the issue of Islamic extremism.
Since the attacks of ISIS (also known as ISIL), Bishop Michael has tried to call attention to what he calls a genocide of middle-eastern Christian and minority populations. Nevertheless, he does not fully support a massive asylum program for Iraqis.
In a letter to the Telegraph, Nazir-Ali says,
“It is true that some refugees will not be able to return to their homes and must be sheltered in neighbouring countries and further afield, but this must not result in precisely the sort of “cleansing” Isil wants.”
The letter was responding to an earlier article by the Telegraph titled Why are we not offering asylum to the Iraqi refugees? As obvious from the title, the piece asks why Britain has been silent on the issue of asylum, unlike France and Australia which has been granting visas to refugees.
Although he admits the call is prompted by good-intentions, Bishop Nazir-Ali says the world needs to face ISIS more directly. He’s called for a UN force to secure safe-zones for threatened minorities and a negotiated end to the Syrian civil war (even if that means Bashar Al Assad remains in power).
In a blog post Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali says,
“What can be done to protect those under threat now? I recognise that American or British “boots on the ground” is asking for the moon, but a UN-authorised international force, drawn from a variety of countries, is desperately needed to prevent multiple genocide…. If the UN cannot prevent this genocide, hard questions will have to be asked about its utility at all.”
Unfortunately for Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, many are already questioning the usefulness of the United Nations in situations like genocide. The multinational organization has just recently elected to send a fact-finding mission to the area to investigate war-crimes.
That mission will be finished by March.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Iraqi minorities like the Yazidi’s have been in terrible danger. If the world listens to people like Michael Nazir-Ali, they might receive the protection they need.
[Image Credit: Youtube.com]