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Why US Must Save Lives of Iraqi Christians and Other Minorities

 

A special report from the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission.

“The world hasn’t seen an evil like this for a generation.” This is how the national spokesman for Iraqi Christians in the United States described atrocities by ISIS terrorists in northern Iraq, which include beheading of children and their mothers and fathers, and forcing almost all Christians in the region to flee. While the United States has resumed military action to deal with the crisis in Iraq, its commitment reflects half-heartedness and fails to match the enormity of suffering and potential threats.

“They are systematically beheading children, and mothers and fathers … There’s actually a park in Mosul that they’ve actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick,” Mark Arabo, the spokesman for Iraqi Christians, told CNN. “This is crimes against humanity. The whole world should come together. This is much broader than a community or faith … They are doing the most horrendous, the most heart-breaking things you can think of.”

The Episcopal Vicar of Iraq, Canon Andrew White, recently visited the town of Qaraqosh, which like many other towns and cities has been captured by the ISIS, to assess the situation. “The majority of the town’s 50,000 people have fled, fearing that, like other Christians in this region, they will be massacred. The militants, in a further act of sacrilege, have established their administrative posts in the abandoned churches,” he said, according to Catholic Online.

Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad has called for “international support and a professional, well-equipped army,” saying the situation is “going from bad to worse.”

U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement last week about the American military involvement in Iraq acknowledged the suffering of minorities. “These terrorists have been especially barbaric toward religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis,” Obama said, but while carefully underlining the humanitarian nature of the intervention. He said it was meant only to prevent the likely advancement of ISIS terrorists toward the U.S. embassy in Baghdad or the U.S. consulate in Arbil, and to help save Iraqi civilians stranded in the Mount Sinjar region.

Obama referred to the more than 50,000 people from the Yazidi ethnic minority, who like Christians were forced to flee their villages and are now trapped on the Sinjar mountains with ISIS men surrounding them. The subtext of his statement was a promise only of a short-term, limited involvement.

It is, of course, a moral obligation of Washington not to leave Iraq in the lurch after its 2003 invasion and subsequent pull-out of its forces. But in fulfilment of this moral obligation also lie America’s interests.

The U.S. took on al-Qaeda and its former leader Osama bin Laden, but now its offshoot, the ISIS, which is also known as the Islamic State, has emerged as far more brutal and powerful – and therefore a likely threat to America in the days to come.

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Category: Living the Faith

About the Author: Fernando Perez is a writer, researcher, and analyst for World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty Commission (RLC).

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