Iraqi priest Fr Douglas Bazi, who takes care of thousands of refugees
forced to flee Mosul after Islamic State took over the city last year,
has a simple but pointed message for Western Europe: "Wake up!"
Bazi, once a torture victim, was in Gozo yesterday to celebrate the
feast of St Peter and St Paul on the invitation of Nadur archpriest Mgr
"We cannot celebrate the feast of two martyrs without remembering the living martyrs of our time," Fr Xerri said.
Fr Bazi believes not enough is being done to support the thousands of persecuted Christians.
a year has passed since Islamist insurgents had issued an ultimatum to
Christians remaining in northern Iraq's city of Mosul: either convert to
Islam or pay the jizya tax (a per capita tax on non-Muslims revived by
IS) or face death.
This led to an exodus of more than 120,000 Christians, who flooded the towns of Kurdistan in the scorching summer heat.
Bazi, 43, says IS (also known as Isis) forced the Christians to leave
with just the clothes on their back. Multiple checkpoints ensured they
were stripped of their money, passports and even their wedding rings.
own story of suffering means he can look these people in the eye. Back
in 2006, he was kidnapped in Baghdad and held for nine days, during
which he was tortured and beaten.