An Iraqi security officer, stands guard outside the Church of the Virgin Mary in the northern town of Bartala, east of the northern city of Mosul on June 15, 2012
An Iraqi security officer, stands guard outside the Church of the Virgin Mary in the northern town of Bartala, east of the northern city of Mosul on June 15, 2012 © Karim Sahib - AFP/File
An Iraqi security officer, stands guard outside the Church of the Virgin Mary in the northern town of Bartala, east of the northern city of Mosul on June 15, 2012
AFP
Last updated: July 28, 2014

France ready to facilitate asylum for Iraq's Christians

France said Monday it was ready to help facilitate asylum for Christians in Iraq displaced by a jihadist onslaught, saying it was "outraged" by their persecution.

Thousands of Christians and other minorities have fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and other areas after Islamic State insurgents led a sweep across Iraq's north and west last month.

The militants had ordered Christian families to convert to Islam or leave the city, prompting the mass exodus.

"France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a joint statement.

"We are ready, if they so desire, to help facilitate asylum on our territory," they added.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIL (militants) is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region."

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