German conservative interior minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has come out with a bold initiative to provide asylum for thousands of Iraqi Christians forced to leave their homeland in recent years because of religious persecution at the hands of Muslim extremist groups, writes Ulf Gartzke in the The Weekly Standard Blog:
According to the Schaeuble plan, which is backed by the interior ministers of the 16 German states, Iraqi Christians would be allowed to stay in Germany until conditions on the ground in Iraq have improved to the point where they can return home. While the Interior Ministry has not officially come out with any concrete refugees quotas, Berlin insiders believe that Germany could end up accepting anywhere between 5,000 and 7,000 Iraqi Christians per year.
Related post in the Atlantic Review: Small Town in Sweden Accepted More Iraqi Refugees than the Entire United States
The United States has admitted less than 5,000 Iraqi refugees between April 2003 through the end of March while Sweden has accepted 34,000 since 2003 according to Congressman Alcee Hastings, chairman of the Helsinki Commission, an independent US government agency led by members of Congress.
The International Herald Tribune writes that the commission held a hearing with Anders Lago, the mayor of Sodertalje, Sweden. He said that his small city of about 80,000 was now home to nearly 6,000 Iraqis. "More refugees than the United States and Canada together."
The IHT also points out that "the Bush administration said Thursday it remained optimistic it would meet its goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of September."
Related articles in the Atlantic Community by Jan Bittner: Iraqi Refugees: The West Overlooks a Major Crisis and Iraqi Refugees: Open Western Doors to the Most Vulnerable, referring to the Iraqi Christians in particular.