European Union officials were urged to help persecuted Christians in the 12th meeting of religious leaders on Tuesday.
EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans was told of the concern for abused minorities in the Middle East at the meeting in Brussels.
“They [Christians] need support, material support, concrete support and a safe place,” said Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chairman of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany in a press conference afterwards.
He said Christians wanted the protection necessary to return home, according to EUObserver.
“Many people told me we will leave if this happens again, they need support by the European Commission and other institutions,” he added in reference to his own time in northern Iraq.
The chief rabbi of Vienna, Arie Folger, accused the EU of not treating the situation seriously.
He said he was “very concerned the plight of Christians in certain parts of the Middle East has not been considered a matter serious enough for European countries, for Western countries in general, to get involved and react.”
Timmermans was joined by Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship and European Parliament Vice-President Antonio Tajanias the group discussed how to intergrate new arrivals into European countries.
Timmermans said afterwards: “Religious leaders play a pivotal role to spur the integration and participation of all their members in Europe as full Europeans, no matter the place of their cradle, no matter their creed.
Avramopoulos added: “Reaching out to all communities, including the different religious ones, is essential for creating and maintaining a cohesive and inclusive society for all.
“With the rise of nationalism, xenophobia and extremism, we must ensure that our society remains welcoming – especially to those fleeing from war and in need of international protection – while preserving its core values and principles.”