Iraqi Christians Allowed to Seek Asylum in Czech Republic

Iraqi Christians pray during a mass on Christmas eve at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Baghdad, December 24, 2015. (REUTERS/ Thaier Al-Sudani)

More than 150 Iraqi Christians will be settled in the Czech Republic after the country opened its doors to the asylum seekers.

The first of a group of 153 fleeing from Mosul, Iraq, arrived in Prague on Sunday after the Czech government offered them asylum despite opposing the EU mandatory plan to resettle 120,000 asylum seekers. The government said it wanted to offer support on a voluntary basis.

Ten landed at Prague's international airport and were taken to a hotel near the central city of Jihlava, where they will spend the first couple of months.

They will stay there while they learn Czech and then in the second half of 2016 will be allowed to seek employment. Half of the 153 refugees accepted are children.

Alongside Slovakia, the Czech Republic has only agreed to accept Christians.

"So we have come here first to provide a secure life for our families, and secondly, to get a job and do something here in order to serve society as well as to take care of our families," one refugee, Majeed Kurdi, told CBN News.

"Being a Christian in Iraq means giving your life. And living under the tents and camps in Iraq is something really, really hard for the Christians," he said.

The Czech government has said it will share the expenses for the move and their stay with NGOs. Churches will help them settle, according to The Washington Post.

Unlike in some instances of asylum, the refugees will be allowed to stay in the Czech Republic after the conflict in Iraq is over.

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