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World Watch Monitor reports on the story of Noeh and his family, now making a new life for themselves in the village of Karamles, Iraq, in wake of the the occupation by the so-called Islamic State…

World Watch Monitor

Around 40,000 Christians who escaped from the 2014 attacks of Islamic State in Iraq’s Nineveh Plains have returned to their homes but are in a “very hard situation”, according to the Pope’s Nuncio in Iraq.

“There is still much to be done, much to rebuild. The houses were damaged, burned or destroyed. But now almost half of the Christians, in some places, who had left their homes, have been able to return,” said Alberto Ortega.

Returning Christians promote forgiveness and reconciliation, much needed to regain stability in the country, says Ortega, citing a family who, upon return, found their home occupied by a large Muslim family. They let them stay there before they moved back home permanently.

One destroyed house in the village of Karamles belonged to the family of a young boy, Noeh. 445 other houses were burnt out in Karamles – but some would say these families were fortunate compared to the 97 whose houses were completely destroyed.

After fleeing in August, 2014, Noeh and his family lived in displacement in Erbil for three years.

The Islamic State fighters withdrew from his village at the end of October, 2016. Noeh’s family returned in March, 2017, but had to find temporary accommodation before their burnt out house could be reconstructed and become liveable again.

With the help of international aid organisations, Noeh’s house received a new look and the family resettled there in August, 2018. In the video, Noeh tours his renovated house and shares his thoughts on their displacement, return and the future of his hometown.

In December 2017, Noeh went to the US with his father to present a petition at the UN General Assembly calling for the protection of Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria, and recognition of the key role faith leaders can play in rebuilding efforts post-Islamic State. The ‘Hope for the Middle East’ petition, a joint initiative of the Christian charities Open Doors and Middle East Concern, was signed by more than 800,000 people around the world.



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