President Novák’s recent visit to Iraq included a meeting with Archbishop Boulos Thabet Habib of the Chaldean Archdiocese of Alqosh and a visit to a kindergarten run by the Dominican Sisters, which was being reconstructed with Hungarian government assistance. She also visited a model farm — located on a piece of land granted by the Chaldean Church to Hungarian organizations — that seeks to develop agriculture practices to help local farmers.
Finally, Novák visited the ancient Chaldean monastery of Rabban Hormizd, which dates to the year 640 A.D. and is located in the far north of Iraq.
“We hope that this visit will be a reminder to the international community about these people who are in this region, not to be forgotten,” Archbishop Habib told ACI Mena.
“[T]he process of reconstruction and development of this region and the consolidation of Christians on their land will continue.”
Hungary Helps, while providing vital assistance on the ground to the persecuted, also has an explicitly stated goal of eliminating the “root causes of migration,” including migration to Hungary itself. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is known for his hardline stance against immigration to Hungary, which has garnered criticism from his fellow European Union leaders and elsewhere, including from officials at the Vatican.
“The migration and humanitarian policies of the Hungarian government go hand in hand,” Tristan Azbej, State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians, writes on the welcome page of the Hungary Helps website.
“We are not advocating that people in need should leave their homelands. Rather, we are promoting that they should stay in their home countries or return there. It is our firm and consistent principle that help should be provided where trouble is instead of bringing people in trouble to Europe and to our country.”
In Rasche’s view, the aid is making a real difference in Christian communities, regardless of any additional political baggage that may be attached to it.
“Whatever the internal politics within Europe may be, the reality and the effectiveness of these programs can’t be denied,” he said.
“Our focus, always, is with the people who are affected in these situations,” he said, referring to the persecuted Christians.
“And so we do our best to make sure that we keep away from these other political differences, and keep our focus always on the people affected.”
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