Musical marathon raises funds for Iraqi Christian refugees

The accomplished pianist and organist, Carl Bahoshy, was so moved by the plight of Iraqi Christians driven from their homes by killings and intimidation from extremist factions, that he vowed to perform a series of piano and organ recitals to help raise awareness and funds. 

On behalf of the UK-registered charity Iraqi Christians In Need (ICIN), Bahoshy has so far helped raise £33,000 from 71 piano and organ recitals at churches, schools and Cathedrals throughout the country with a further 22 confirmed over the next eight weeks alone. 

Funds raised are being spent to provide medical aid and shelter, principally in the form of family caravans. Following attacks on their churches and clergy, the Christian population within mainland Iraq- numbering some 1.4 million in 2003- has now become virtually extinct. 

The majority of those who survived the onslaught by extremist factions have sought refuge in either Erbil in the north or in neighbouring Middle Eastern countries including Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. There are currently some 120,000 displaced Christian refugees scattered across camps, schools, churches and abandoned buildings in Erbil and its surrounding suburbs. 

Bahoshy (30) has a personal connection with Iraq as his parents are both Catholics from Iraq who settled in south-west London in the 1960s. Bahoshy’s gift for music was strongly nurtured by continuous support and encouragement from his parents and three notable piano teachers with whom he studied for over 15 years. 

Bahoshy said: "I love playing both the piano and organ and feel privileged to have the opportunity to share this gift not only to bring others joy but also to raise awareness for what is a modern-day catastrophe. 

I hope that this initiative will continue to raise awareness of the horrific reality many families have unwillingly found themselves in and bring increasing exposure to the excellent work that the charity does. I hope to take every opportunity presented to play and raise funds." 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported that 44% of Iraqi asylum seekers reaching Syria since registration started in 2003 are Christians, despite Christians forming a small fraction of the Iraqi population. 

Bahoshy’s repertoire focuses predominantly on the romantic genre with works by Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Messiaen & Schubert. 

Further information on the work of the charity as well as a schedule of upcoming recitals can be found on the charity’s website: www.icin.org.uk. Entry is free and there is a retiring collection. Unless otherwise stated, 100% of proceeds raised via recitals are donated to ICIN. All are welcome.

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