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France welcomes 150 Iraqi Christians fleeing ISIL

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France welcomes 150 Iraqi Christians fleeing ISIL


A hundred and fifty Iraqi Christians have arrived in France where they have been granted political asylum because of the threat from ISIL extremists.

They are the lucky ones: one support group says some 10,000 have applied for visas to the French consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan after being driven from their homes.

In Paris the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met the refugees, who have relatives in France or links to the country.

They had been flown from Irbil on board a French government plane which had brought humanitarian aid on its outward journey.

Many say Christians and Muslims can no longer live together in Iraq.

“We cannot trust anyone. We cannot trust anyone because they have betrayed us as a Christian people, many times. So why to stay here? We want to find our future, we want to build a new life, for me, for my husband, for my kids in the future,” said Sara, sitting next to her husband at Irbil airport as they waited to board their flight.

“Leaving our country is the only choice we have to survive,” another woman added.

French Muslim groups have denounced ISIL's persecution of minorities in Iraq and Syria.

The refugees are the second group of Iraqi Christians to be allowed to enter France since the summer.

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