“Pay money or be killed”: Interviewing a Syrian Christian family escaping extremists

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In Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan, at the makeshift immigration screening center set up by the contractors and volunteers working for the Nazarene Fund inside of a hotel conference room, I was introduced to a recently rescued Christian family.

They had been rescued at the Kurdistan border after fleeing the Turkish incursion into Syria and had spent 5 days hiding in the jungle before being brought to safety in Dohuk. Even though ISIS is on the retreat, Christian communities are still in danger as a result of the ongoing instability across the region.

This Christian family wanted to talk to me, despite the danger that could put them in. They wanted the world to hear their story so that others would know the truth of what the Christians are facing in Iraq and Syria.

Robert, the father, feels there is no hope and no future for here for them or their children and so they're leaving their ancestral Christian home in hopes of living in peace, to practice their Christianity freely in Australia.

The Nazarene Fund aid workers tell me they have the capacity to process more Christian refugees than they do. They could rescue more Christians just like Robert’s family.

However, they just don't have enough money to do the work.

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  • By David Menzies

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