Ecumenical News International

'Iraq is finished' say Christians who fled conflict

November 25, 2008

Damascus (ENI). Words of encouragement from local, regional and international church leaders, who want Christian institutions to remain in Iraq, have not been able to stem a tide of Iraqi refugees from leaving their country in the face of violence. The family of 60-year-old Basil Mati Koriya Kaktoma and his wife, Ekram Ishak Buni Safar, aged 55, have lived in Syria since July 2006. Refugees such as these are adamant they will never return to their homeland given their experience of threats, physical abuse and, in the case of Kaktoma, a week-long abduction by Muslim gunmen Kaktoma believes targeted him because he is Christian. "I'd rather go to hell than go back to Iraq," Kaktoma said in a recent interview in the family's cramped apartment in Damascus. "What I saw was so horrible that I can't even look at a map of my own country."



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