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Create 'safe zones' for Iraqi minorities, says UN

The UN wants an area created for religious minorities fleeing Islamic extremists.

Islamic State (IS), formerly ISIS, has forced thousands of Christians to flee their homes as they issue an ultimatium to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death.

IS has also been attacking the religious minority group of Yazidis.

The extremists claim Yazidis worship the devil, which is untrue.

The United Nations Committee claims minorities in Iraq are at risk of 'genocide' and should be given somewhere to go.

Safe Zones were previously used for Kurds in Iraq during the Saddam Hussain regime.

Lecturer in Islamics at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology, Dr Anthony McRoy, told Premier's News Hour he doesn't think they'd work in this case.

He said: "I'm not sure that respect will be given by the so called Islamic State since they've not shown respect for anything else.

"I think they would find ways to try and penetrate it, even if just by suicide bombings and so forth".

The Archbishop of York is backing the call.

Writing on his website Dr. John Sentamu said: "It is essential that Her Majesty's Government now take a lead both internationally and domestically to respond to the daily unfolding horrors in Iraq.

"Internationally the Government must take a lead in its role on the UN Security Council to support calls from the United Nation's own committees for the creation of a "safe zone" in Iraq, enforced by UN peacekeepers, to protect the country's minorities.

"As a member of the Security Council the Government has voice and a chance to act.

"It is essential that they not only take the opportunity to do so but show leadership by encouraging others nation states to do the same.

"They should follow the example of Sir John Major who created Safe havens for the Marsh Arabs when Saddam Hussein used chemical and biological weapons against the Kurds.

"Domestically the time has come for the Government to show leadership in offering asylum to those at risk of persecution."

Meanwhile a car bomb has killed at least 11 people in Baghdad.

Iraqi security officials say the blast happened during the morning rush hour in the east of the city.

31 people were also injured.

Elsewhere the UN has confirmed that an attack which killed 670 prisoners, including many Christians, in June, was the worst recorded massacre by jihadists in Iraq.

There's concern the killings at Badoush prison was part of the a wider campaign of ethnic and religious cleansing being conducted by extremist Islamic fighters.

Hear more from Dr Anthony McRoy:

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