"The Christian populations in Iraq and Syria have been decimated"

"The Christian populations in Iraq and Syria have been decimated"

By Joshua Philipp/ The Epoch Times

Christians are the target of genocide in the Middle East, where they face enslavement, rape, murder, and violence under the rule of Islamic extremists. When trying to flee, they face continuing threats to their lives in Europe’s migrant camps.

In just over 10 years, the Christian populations in Iraq and Syria have been decimated, according to research compiled in the book “The Persecution and Genocide of Christians in the Middle East”.

It states that the population of close to 1.4 million Christians in Iraq prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion has been reduced to an estimated 250,000, most of whom are internally displaced and living as refugees. Of the close to two million Christians who once lived in Syria, between one million and 1.5 million are living as refugees, mainly in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, where Christians have no resettlement rights.

The Christians, when they go to the immigration camps, are often persecuted there.
“They also have encountered discrimination and persecution by other refugees in United Nations camps in the region,” the book notes. “The Christians who escape ISIS depend on the Church and other private charity for their survival.”

Rychlak, a professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law, said in a phone interview that “what’s going on in the Middle East, I wouldn’t have thought it possible a short time ago, but now here we are. It’s here, and it’s undeniable.”

He noted the crimes are most pronounced under the terrorist group ISIS, but also take place under al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups.

The European Parliament was informed of the crisis in November 2014 by Pope Francis, who said Christian minorities “today find themselves subjected to barbaric acts of violence: they are evicted from their homes and native lands, sold as slaves, killed, beheaded, crucified, or burned alive, under the shameful and complicit silence of many.”

When the European Union and the U.N. failed to act, Pope Francis again raised the issue, stating in July 2015, according to the Vatican website, that “today, we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured, and killed for their faith in Jesus.”

“This, too, needs to be denounced: In this third World War, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide—I insist on the word—is taking place, and it must end,” he said.

The United States has also done little to help. The researchers note that when the United States exceeded its goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the fall of 2016, admitting 11,000 refugees to the United States, only 56 were Christian.

Under the Obama administration, the State Department failed to designate the persecution of Christians in the Middle East as a genocide, after the administration had been pressed by Congress.

However, on March 17, 2016, a day after the administration issued a statement saying it needed more time on the issue, then-Secretary of State John Kerry stated that, in his judgment, ISIS “is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians, and Shiite Muslims.”

Sat, 11/25/2017 - 15:00
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