The French city of Lyon has held a dinner in support of Christians in Iraq, where many face persecution at the hands of ISIL.
It was hosted by the Lyon diocese of the Catholic Church on Fourvière hill for 750 people. Food prepared by 14 women members of the Chaldean Christian community with the help of famous Lyon chefs. Jewish and Muslim people also took part alongside French Christians, to demonstrate solidarity with Iraqi Christians.
Thousands in Iraq and Syria have fled the advancing extremists; about 200 have been brought to France while some 10,000 others have applied for French visas in Iraqi Kurdistan.
One Christian woman who came to the Lyon area in the 90s described how her two brothers-in-law were recently chased from their village by ISIL militants.
“They spent one month wandering the country under the open sky, they were sleeping on the streets.Eventually they found a way to their relatives who took them in, so at least they had a real bed to sleep in,” said the former Iraqi refugee, Carine Bidawit.
A ceremony was held for the visiting Chaldean Christian patriarch Louis Raphaël Sako, on his way to Rome from Baghdad. He has written of the ==