Among the many refugees from Syria and Iraq are considerable numbers of Christians. Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on the first Institute of Eastern Christian Studies Report (IECS-Report1). This report aims to provide an overview of the current situation of these Christians, including their temporary shelter in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey as well as an update about their presence among those refugees that reached Europe in the last couple of months.
Although Christians in general have preferred official routes out of the region, waiting for visa for the United States and Canada, they are also among the current stream of refugees that reach Europe via smugglers; so far in the Netherlands roughly about four to five hundred have identified themselves as such (alongside Christians from Iran and Eritrea). It is important to be aware of these Christians among the other refugees, and assist them, in the Middle East and in Europe, with specialized help fitting their situation.
Many people have contributed to this report, colleagues from the Institute, clerics and lay people from the churches concerned, in the Netherlands as well in the Middle East; I thank them all for their generous contribution of time and care.