France says ready to facilitate asylum for Iraq's Christians
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Christian women pray during Sunday mass at the Virgin Mary Chaldean church (Church of Our Lady of Sacred Heart) in the Karrada neighborhood of the capital Baghdad on July 27, 2014. AFP PhotoFrance 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."