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Model of humanitarian aid for persecuted Christians must change, experts say

Advocates for Christians in the Middle East are calling for an overhaul of the way humanitarian aid is distributed by western governments and international agencies to those on the frontlines of persecution.

“It’s a model that’s not working and yet the people inside of it insist that it is working,” said Stephen Rasche, Vice Chancellor at the Catholic University in Erbil and Director of the Institute for Ancient and Threatened Christianity, who argues that the current mechanism for distributing aid is fueled by corruption and does not prioritize the people that the aid, in theory, is meant to support.

Rasche’s remarks came during an online launch on Tuesday for his recently released book, The Disappearing People: The Tragic Fate of Christians in the Middle East.

Rasche, who has worked full time in Iraq since 2015, said that the donors and implementers of aid grants, primarily from the west, operate in a “process driven paradigm” and that the “people who are benefiting supposedly see it as the biggest disaster” and one that is easily corrupted and “skews behavior from desirable ends.”

Since arriving in Iraq at the request of Archbishop Bashir Matti Warda of Erbil, Rasche has served as a liaison to both western governments and private organizations that have pledged support to rebuild the fledgling Christian community in the region.

Read more at Crux

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