A CATHOLIC priest in Clitheroe is rallying support for the plight of christians in Iraq — who are suffering at the hands of terrorists in the war torn country.

Father Frankie Mulgrew, who is the assistant parish priest at St Michael and St John’s Roman Catholic Church, has attracted almost 900 signatures from across the world for his online petition.

Father Mulgrew, who is the son of famous Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket, has called on the foreign secretary Philip Hammond MP to grant safe asylum to Iraqi christians.

The Islamic State (IS), formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is a jihadist group in the Middle East claiming religious authority over Muslims worldwide.

It has warned Christians to leave areas under its control or pay a tax or be murdered, according to reports.

Those who fled are in refugee camps or hiding in the desert with little or no belongings.

Some of those who didn’t flee have been massacred, with graphic pictures and videos being posted online.

Father Mulgrew said: “Before pitilessly exiling the Christians on foot, ISIS stole everything they had — homes, businesses, cars, money and even wedding rings, sometimes with the ring fingers attached.

“Churches have all been destroyed, shuttered or turned into mosques.

“Thousands of innocent people have fled for their lives in what can only be described as an attack against religious liberty and freedom.

“No belief, no matter how strong, should be allowed to cause such grievous attacks and atrocities, threatening the rights and religious freedom of every individual.

“I’m encouraging people to contact their own MP to try and create some momentum in Parliament.”

The petition, which has attracted support from across the UK as well as Ureterp in the Netherlands, Magog in Canada, Stuttgart in Germany, and Athens in Greece, can be viewed and signed by visiting this link: www.tinyurl.com/ qgpchax