Humanitarian Group Aims to Raise $2 Million to Rebuild Iraqi Christian Town
A humanitarian organization has set out to raise funds in hopes to rebuild a predominantly Christian town in Iraq that has been destroyed by ISIS.
According to the Knights of Columbus, which is spearheading the effort, the rebuilding of Karamdes, also called Karamlash, must happen within the next two months. Andrew Walther, the vice president of communications and strategic planning for the Knights of Columbus, told The Christian Post that the "next 60 days are critical" because if those who were displaced from their homes are unable to return within that time frame, they will leave the country "for good."
"Christianity is reaching a tipping point," Walther told The Christian Post. "We have been told in 60 days, if there aren't signs of hope and construction and people starting to move home, if this process doesn't begin in the next 60 days that people will just start leaving in droves and Christianity in Iraq will reach the point of no return."
Since ISIS invaded parts of Iraq in 2014, numerous towns have been destroyed and taken captive by the extremist group, many of which were resided predominantly by Christians or other religious minorities. Some of those towns have been liberated from ISIS control since then, including Karamdes, but the population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) remains significant.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (UN OCHA) some 3.4 million people are internally displaced within Iraq as of June.
The Knights aim to raise $2 million, which the group says will help bring "hundreds of families" back home to Karamdes, and estimate that it costs about $2,000 to resettle one family. It will be partnering with the Archdiocese of Erbil for the effort.
"The terrorists desecrated churches and graves and looted and destroyed homes," Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said during an annual report at the Knights of Columbus 135th Supreme Convention. "Now we will ensure that hundreds of Christian families driven from their homes can return to these two locations and help to ensure a pluralistic future for Iraq."