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French Muslims back Middle East Christians against ISIS

The Muslim Council of France (CFCM) in a joint statement with a Christian group denounced the persecution of Middle East Christians by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and said mosques across France would pray for them this week.

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Although several French Muslim groups have already condemned the atrocities of the Islamic State (IS) jihadi militants who have declared a medieval-style caliphate in Iraq and Syria, this is the first time that French Muslims have teamed up with Christians to support the victims of IS.

A man holds a banner during a demonstration on August 23, 2014 in Paris called by the French Kurdish associations federation (Feyka) in support of Kurds and Yazidis in Iraq, to support Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State (IS), and to demand humanitarian help for the populations that have fled (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

A man holds a banner during a demonstration on August 23, 2014 in Paris called by the French Kurdish associations federation (Feyka) in support of Kurds and Yazidis in Iraq, to support Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State (IS), and to demand humanitarian help for the populations that have fled (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

In a joint statement, the CFCM said “barbarians are perpetrating crimes against humanity exploiting Islam as their banner.”

“The signatories reaffirm their support to their Middle Eastern Christian brothers, many of them Arabs, as well as for all other minorities in the region who are now victims of a destructive campaign by these terrorist groups that threaten their existence,” the statement read, as cited by Reuters.

Islamic State jihadists persecuted and drove Christians out of Iraq’s northern city of Mosul in July, which ended their presence in the town stretching back to the early years of Christianity.

They also drove out the neighboring Yazidi community, as well as executing many Yazidi men and forcing women and children into slavery. Other Muslims are not immune; Shiites have also been targeted in large numbers.

“The issue of Middle East Christians is not only one for Christians. French Muslims are with us to support them,” said Patrick Karam, head of the Endangered Middle East Christians Group, which helped to draw up the statement with the Muslim Council.

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