In all the self-righteous talk we’ve been hearing about Muslim refugees from Syria, who’s talking about the Christians? Over the past several years, no religious group has been more persecuted throughout the Middle East than the Christians. And yet, hardly a peep.
Yes, the Jewish way is not either/or. We’re supposed to be inclusive. So, with all the beautiful, heartfelt sentiment so many American Jews are expressing for Muslim refugees, why are we not including oppressed Christians in our hearts?
For some reason, the notion of “suffering Muslims” seems to resonate more with liberal hearts than “suffering Christians.” Maybe Muslims are seen as more “exotic” or “misunderstood”; maybe it’s the fact that many liberals have contempt for fundamentalist Christians in America, with their anti-abortion and anti-gay positions.
Whatever it is, the poor Christians can’t seem to catch a break. A 2012 Pew study found that “Christians continue to be the world’s most oppressed religious group.”
Even the world’s two most prominent Christians—President Barack Obama and Pope Francis—have hardly said a word about the plight of Christian refugees in Syria.
The current refugee system overwhelmingly favors Muslim refugees. Even though Christians represent more than 10 percent of the Syrian population, of the 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States so far, only 53 are Christians while 2,098 are Muslims.
This low number is tragic, because Christians living in Muslim lands are in especially dire straits. “ISIS and other extremist movements across the region,” Eliza Griswold wrote in The New York Times last July, “are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight.”
As author and Arab expert Raymond Ibrahim adds, “At the hands of the Islamic State, which supposedly precipitated the migrant crisis, Christians have been repeatedly forced to renounce Christ or die; they have been enslaved and raped; and they have had more than 400 of their churches desecrated and destroyed.”
This horrible situation, Ibrahim writes, was not always the case: “Christians and other religions minorities did not flee from Bashar Assad’s Syria, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, or Muamar Gaddafi’s Libya. Their systematic persecution began only after the U.S. interfered in those nations in the name of ‘democracy’ but succeeding in only uncorking the jihadi terrorists that the dictators had long kept suppressed.”
Replacing evils with worse evils — that seems to be the nature of the beast in the Mideast jungle.
In any case, if we believe in the concept of triage—taking care of the most urgent cases first—the West ought to seriously wake up to the plight of the Christians of the Middle East, who have no “Christian country” in the area to escape to.
There are many Arab/Muslim countries who could take in Muslim refugees, but refuse. As reported recently in the Washington Times, Saudi Arabia has over 100,000 empty, air-conditioned tents that could house up to 3 million refugees, but has shut its doors to fellow Muslims in need. I guess oil-rich Arab countries figure the “compassionate West” can handle them.
The irony is that the very persecution of Christians makes it harder to rescue them. As Patrick Goodenough reports on CNSNews.com, the U.S. federal government relies on the United Nations in the refugee application process – and since Syrian Christians are often afraid to register with the U.N., they and other non-Muslims are left out.
This means that refugees who are in most need of rescue are the hardest to reach. But isn’t that the real meaning of compassion — to go the extra mile for those in greatest need? Even if we put aside the charged issue of Muslim terrorists possibly infiltrating the refugees, and just look at basic human need, don’t we owe it to the Christians to pay more attention to their plight?
If the most powerful country on Earth can’t go the extra mile to rescue Christian refugees, who will?
If the most powerful man on Earth can’t stand up for the most oppressed, who will?
Who will speak up for the most persecuted religious group in the world?
Who will start the #IamChristian hashtag?
Thanksgiving Table Setting to Remember the Persecuted Church, Saeed Abedini imprisoned in Iran, along with 4 other Americans
“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3
(Voice of the Persecuted) As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and the blessings of God and family, again we ask for you to remember the millions of our brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted, brutalized and separated from their families.
Saeed Abedini, also an American citizen, will be spending a fourth Thanksgiving in a brutal and violent prison cell separated from his family. His crime? His Christian faith and for refusing to deny Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Four other Americans are also being held in Iranian prisons. see information here
It is critical that we remember the Persecuted Church and stand in solidarity with them. Therefore, will you leave a place setting on your holiday table in remembrance of Pastor Saeed along with the 4 other Americans imprisoned in Iran, and the Persecuted Church, our family in Christ?
The empty place setting at your Thanksgiving dinner table will serve as a reminder to pray for all those wrongfully imprisoned and being persecuted for their Christian faith around the world.
Ephesians 6:18-20 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Please share a picture of the place setting at your table on this Facebook event page, to encourage the persecuted and show them they are not forgotten.
As we sit down to dinner let us remember to include our persecuted Church family in our prayers. And let us give thanks that we live in a nation with protected religious freedom and the right to worship our Lord without fear of being persecuted.
Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you!
The Voice of the Persecuted Team
Burma (Morning Star News) – Artillery and air strikes by Burma (Myanmar) government forces on rebel bases in Kachin state in the past week displaced hundreds of ethnic Kachin, a predominantly Christian people long targeted in part because they are not Buddhist.
The Rev. Lama Yaw of the Kachin Baptist Convention, who visited areas near Mohnyin where the offensive intensified on Nov. 15, told Morning Star News by phone that 200 civilians took shelter in area churches after attacks by a jet, helicopter gunships and artillery against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). Another Christian leader in Mohnyin told The Irrawaddy newspaper that some 300 villagers had fled their homes on Thursday (Nov. 19) and were taking shelter in his church.
Pastor Yaw said area Christians were shaken by the attacks, which continued through the week, as they have long seen civilians and church buildings targeted by government weaponry and soldiers.
“They dare not go to sleep at home as they fear unexpected attacks, because the Burma Army has done these kinds of attacks and abuses before,” said Pastor Yaw. “Some nearby villagers have gone to sleep at churches in Mohnyin town, as they fear random attacks by the Burma Army.”
After the Burma Army broke a 17-year ceasefire in 2011, by early 2013 the military had destroyed 66 church buildings in Kachin state, according to a 2013 report by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT). After making Buddhism the state religion in 1961, the government has tacitly supported military atrocities against civilian Christians.
“I feel like they intentionally launched the attacks on the day when Christians held worship,” Pastor Yaw said, referring to the dramatic escalation on Nov. 15 of the offensive that began on a smaller scale the previous day. “Also in 2012, they launched intense attacks on Christmas Eve. They chose the day when ethnic Christians were supposed to enjoy Christmas celebrations with happiness.”
The Kachin are one of several ethnic groups vying for more autonomy, and advocacy organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that decades of conflict in the ethnic states have left hundreds of thousands of people internally displaced or as refugees in other countries.
“It is obvious that they oppress ethnic minorities who are Christian,” Pastor Yaw said.
The roots of conflicts with ethnic groups date back to the origins of the country. Before the formation of the Union of Burma in 1948, British rulers administered “Burma Proper” – where the Burman people lived – and “Frontier Areas,” where non-Burman ethnic groups lived separately. The Kachin leaders, however, agreed to join the Union based on the 1947 Panglong Agreement, which allowed great autonomy and the right to secede to the ethnic frontier states.
But with the assassination of Gen. Aung San, who was leading an interim government, and several of his cabinet members, the agreement was forgotten and continues to be violated.
Burma on Nov. 8 held its first general elections since the military junta quashed 1990 voting results, but CSW noted political reforms are still fragile.
“There are reasons for cautious optimism, but Burma continues to face many very significant human rights challenges, particularly in regard to freedom of religion or belief,” CSW notes on its website.
In the attacks near Mohnyin the past week, the KIA reported two of its soldiers were wounded and that it lost its Brigade 8 stronghold headquarters to the Burma Army. A government information minister reportedly said there are no plans to cease the offensive in Mohnyin, citing a need to “protect public security.”
The KIA has an estimated 10,000 troops and is the second largest armed, ethnic group. It was not among eight such groups that signed a ceasefire agreement with the government on Oct. 15. Other major ethnic group forces have declined to sign the agreement, including the Shan State Army-North, which has also been the target of recent Burma Army offensives.
Pastor Yaw said Christians in the state capital are praying for villagers living near Mohnyin.
“As soon as we heard civilians fled for safety, we held prayer and pray to God to protect them,” he said. “We are weak, and what we can do is keep praying and relying on God. We believe that God is capable to protect our people.”
(AINA) — Over a dozen passengers drowned when a boat carrying refugees across the Aegean Sea to Greece capsized on November 17. Seven of the passengers were Assyrian refugees from Baghdede (Qaraqosh), Iraq. The Assyrians, 4 of them children, were members of two families. They have been identified as:
- Stephen Marzena Marogeh
- Silvana Sami Marogeh (wife)
- Angie Marogeh (Daughter)
- Mark Marogeh (son)
- Samah Sami Marogeh (Silvana’s sister)
- Haneen Salem Saman Shasha (Samah’s daughter)
- Marvin Shasha (Samah’s son)
Baghdede, formerly the largest Assyrian town in Iraq with 50,000 residents, was captured by ISIS last year on August 7, causing all 50,000 Assyrians to flee (AINA 2014-08-07). They have not returned and are living in Ankawa, a suburb of Arbel, and Dohuk (Assyrian Noohadra). Many have left the country and most of the others have expressed a desire to leave.
Officials seek to silence, neutralize advocates for freedom of religion/speech.
(Morning Star News) A Christian activist writing against harassment of churches in China’s Zhejiang Province was temporarily detained and threatened this month, and an attorney representing some of the fellowships remains missing.
The detentions are the latest signs of a government crackdown on at least 230 human rights lawyers and activists since July.
China’s National Security Bureau on Nov. 3 raided the home of writer Zan Aizong, who had been blogging on violations of religious freedom and the destruction of crosses on church buildings in Zhejiang Province that officials have undertaken since last year, according to the South China Morning Post. Authorities accused Zan of inciting subversion of national security, and they threatened and intimidated him before he was released.
Zan said he was prohibited from speaking or posting online, and his computer and cell phone were confiscated among other items, SCMP reported.
“I would like to thank Jesus Christ for His grace and help,” Zan said, according to advocacy group China Aid Association.
At the same time, a Christian attorney for churches in Zhejiang, Zhang Kai, has not been seen since Aug. 25, according to Elizabeth Kendal of the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB). Chinese security forces seized Zhang in Wenzhou on Aug. 25, along with assistant Liu Peng and several area pastors.
Zhang, 37, had taken up residence in a Wenzhou church building for a year in order to help the legal cases of area fellowships whose church buildings or crosses had been destroyed. Officials cited church violations of zoning rules, while pastors and advocates asserted that the government only sought to diminish the churches’ effectiveness.
Yang Xinquan, Zhang’s employer, told The New York Times that police and Christian sources indicated that Zhang could be held in secretive detention for six months, charged with threatening state security and “assembling a crowd to disrupt social order.” Yang said Zhang was advising a church in Wenzhou when police took him away, and that assistant Liu and another legal worker, Fang Xiangui, were also likely being held in secret in Wenzhou, according to the Times.
Zhang is one of an estimated 230 lawyers and activists that have been detained, with 26 still being held, according to Amnesty International. He was first detained in Wenzhou by state security police late at night on July 10, according to Hong Kong-based Initium Media. One of Initium’s correspondents reported Zhang telling him earlier that day, “Christianity teaches us to submit. But what we ought to submit to is the constitution and morality, not to illegal people and conduct.”
Following his release after a night of interrogation, Zhang later told the reporter in an interview that public security officials warned him to stop working on church cases and holding legal seminars
Advocates fear for Zhang’s health and safety. Prominent human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng was released on Aug. 7, 2014, after months of isolation and torture left him physically disabled and unable to speak coherently.
Zhang had represented Pastor Huang Yizi of Salvation Church in Wenzhou. Supporters put up resistance to a government attempt to remove the church’s cross last year that resulted in injuries, and Pastor Huang was ultimately sentenced to jail for “gathering a crowd to disturb social order,” Initium reported.
Identifying and documenting various procedural illegalities in the way the government harassed the Wenzhou churches, Zhang left government officials enraged and legally defeated, according to Initium. Authorities offered to free the then yet to be prosecuted Pastor Huang if Zhang would cease representing him, but when Zhang recused himself, officials reneged and sentenced the pastor to a year in prison, Initium reported.
Zhang organized a group of 30 attorneys from throughout China to take up church cases in Zhejiang Province. He also wrote a number of articles and Web posts.
Initium reported Zhang saying, “Lawyers can’t necessarily prevent the crosses being removed, but at least they can expose the illegal nature of the exercise. Even if they were constructed against regulations, there should be a reasonable and legal process to remove them. Otherwise, where’s the legality?”
Nigeria: (Voice of the Persecuted) For the past year, the world’s focus has been on the terror group ISIS, but many have overlooked the 6 year Nigerian nightmare called Boko Haram. For years, Voice of the Persecuted has warned about the insatiable bloodlust of this notorious Islamic group and compared their deadly campaign equal to, if not worse than, the Islamic State’s (ISIS). But news coming out of Nigeria garners little interest, even our own Nigerian reports barely get a glance. This has led our team to often call persecuted North Nigerian Christians, the invisibles. It isn’t hard to see why God has called our hearts and hands for our Nigerian brothers and sisters. The lack of interest has caused greater hardship and suffering for Christians in the north of the country.
Attacks and military clashes have forced a staggering number of North Nigerians from their homes. 2.2 million people have been labeled as IDP’s, internally displaced people. The UNHCR is reporting 175,000 more have sought safety in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Thousands of people, including children have been abducted, especially girls. Some of those kidnapped have escaped or been released and tell a horrifying story, which can be called nothing less than evil. Many have only heard of the Chibok schoolgirls taken in April 2014 who are still missing. Since taking office in May 2015, President Buhari and his new government promised to eliminate the militant threat and have stepped up counter-insurgency efforts, but the humanitarian crisis shows no sign of declining.
Nigeria is divided in two parts: the predominantly Christian South and the Muslim North. Most incidents recorded are in the northern part of the country. The Boko Haram goal is to Islamize society and force strict Sharia, Islamic law on the population.
Though the government and coalition forces have sought to destroy Boko Haram, the militants continue attacks through suicide bombers, often using young girls. Some of the girls have been reported to be as young as 10 years old. We’ve learned many girls have been given by their militant fathers to carry out these missions. These girls get only one choice, become a suicide bomber or be killed. One girl described watching another girl buried half underground then stoned to death for refusing to take part in the deadly missions. 1,000 people have been killed, mostly in suicide bombings, since Buhari took office. For years Nigeria has been asking the U.S. to help defend against the terror group, but it wasn’t until President Buhari took office that the Obama Administration offered to do more. 300 U.S. troops have now been sent to Cameroon where they will help train military personnel and operate drones.
The Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, J. Peter Pham warned, “The literally fatal conceit of all too many policymakers and analysts with respect to Boko Haram is to constantly underestimate it,” and “This despite the fact that the group has repeatedly proven itself to be one of the most resilient of its kind and has constantly shifted not only in terms of tactics and operations but also strategy and, indeed, ideology.”
According to The Institute for Economics and Peace latest report, Boko Haram is responsible for more deaths than other militant group in the world.
Terrorism spread significantly in the past year, with attacks and fatalities in more countries than ever. While many countries experience no terrorist activity, the number of countries to experience at least one or more deaths from terrorist activity has increased from 59 in 2013 to 67 in 2014. This includes OECD countries such as Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada and France.
Despite this, just five countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria– account for 78% of all deaths in 2014. Importantly, over 60% of the countries ranked by the Index experienced no deaths from terrorism, and 13 times as many people are killed globally by homicides than die in terrorist attacks.
Terrorist activity is a significant driver of forced migration. Ten of the 11 countries most affected by terrorism also have the highest rates of refugees and internal displacement. This highlights the strong connection between the current refugee crisis, terrorism and conflict.
On Wednesday, a suicide bomber exploded at a busy marketplace in Yola where many of the IDP’s have sought refuge. At least 34 people were killed and 80 injured.
On the same day, two suicide bombers killed at least 15 people in the city of Kano and 53 wounded.
Since their insurgency, Boko Haram has killed 20,000 and forced millions to flee their homes. The U.N. Children’s Fund says 10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria, the highest number in the world.— Only half the children among the millions of refugees from the uprising are going to school in camps. Boko Haram which means, “Western education is forbidden” has committed many atrocities at schools that have closed, been burned down or been abandoned in northeastern Borno state.
The Nigeria crisis is overwhelming. The effects of persecution doesn’t end with the attack, it’s only the beginning. North Nigerian Christians have suffered for years at the hands of these persecutors. Many have become orphans and widows. They are weary, grieving, some mentally broken with many feeling forgotten by the international community. They’re barely surviving with little food, shelter, medical supplies or treatment. Deplorable conditions and lack of hygiene in refugee camps make them susceptible to illness and disease. A large number are fearful in ‘designated camps’, further persecuted and pressured to convert to Islam. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable. Thousands find themselves fleeing what they thought would be a safe place of refuge. Many claim they’d rather live in the bush then in these camps. They are grateful when able to find places of safety among other Christians.
Voice of the Persecuted – Project 13:3 Nigeria
In the camp we are aiding, the people are struggling. Many in the camp had resided in one of the hardest hit areas by the Boko Haram. Their villages are either burned to the ground, or not safe and they cannot go back home. Many are so thin, hungry, sick or at risk of becoming ill, and newborns who’ve not yet been seen by a doctor. There is an urgent need for food, medication, clothing, and beddings.”
We are praying with your help to continue to get the needed medical and nutritional needs to these families. There is no other choice but for them to live under the extremely harsh conditions of the camp. It has also been determined to prevent further cases of disease, such as Typhoid, a clean water well must be constructed. We have agreed to be a part of this much needed project and plans have already begun.
We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through your support and they keep you in their prayers.
We cannot forget or give up on them. These dear ones are in dire need of our compassion and support. Is God calling you to be His vessel in Nigeria? Is the Lord is burdening your heart for them? To shine God’s love and comfort over these families, our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus?
Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183
(Voice of the Persecuted) Today, a letter from Voice of the Persecuted was hand delivered to Indonesia’s President Jokowi regarding the extreme pressure Indonesian Christians are facing, particularly in Aceh province. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation and intolerance against minority groups, including Christians, have been increasingly on the rise.
Indonesia with a motto, ‘Unity in Diversity’ is thought by many to be a tolerant secular nation. Aceh, the only Indonesian province to enforce Islamic law (Sharia) has seen escalating violent attacks and pressure put on the Christian community(see photos and Oct. 25, 2015 report of recent church attacks and government demolitions). However, an increasing radical and extremist Islamic view is branching out to other parts of the country. The Christians are tense and greatly concerned for their religious freedom and equality. Voicing they’re distress to the global community, they pray many will hear. Please remember and keep them in your prayers.
Letter to the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo
Kementerian Sekretariat Negara
Jl. Veteran No. 17 -18 Jakarta Pusat 10110
Tel: +62 21 3845627
Respectfully, we at Voice of the Persecuted, a religious and human rights organization (USA) are contacting you on behalf of Christians in Aceh Singkil. Targets of rising intolerance, a large number were forced to flee from threats and violence by radicals in Aceh province. We are concerned to hear upon their return, they were pressured to agree with decisions and rules made by Muslims and the government of Aceh Singkil to receive protection.
Churches in Indonesia have seen imposed closures by local officials and attacks by fundamentalists groups since 1998. However, this issue is aggravated in the province of Aceh where Sharia law is applied. Your comments have not gone unnoticed, “Stop the violence in Aceh Singkil,” and “Violence of any kind, particularly one motivated by religion and faith, will only damage plurality.” We agree! Without delay, something must be done to end this aggression for the protection of Indonesia as a whole.
In your esteemed position, we humbly request that you revise the Joint Ministerial Decree (PBM) No. 8 and 9 of 2006 on Guidelines for the Implementation Task Regional Head/Deputy Head of the Maintenance of Religious Harmony, Empowerment Forum for Religious Harmony, and the Construction of Houses of Worship. We implore you to expedite this necessary action as a champion for the protection of religious minorities, your fellow citizens, without waiting for the legislative process in Parliament and the government plan for a Protection Act.
We ask that you lead by example and guide your nation to uphold the Constitution pertaining to religious freedom and Indonesia’s motto, ‘Unity in diversity’. As part of Indonesia and without exception, the government of Aceh must abide with the accordance of rights and enact freedom of worship and the freedom to establish places of worship without discrimination.
Christian houses of worship are repeatedly and unfairly rejected, while unregistered Muslim mosques have been overlooked and allowed to operate in the region. This restriction is used as an instigator of prejudice and unrestrained mayhem, which was seen in the latest attacks on the Christian community and their churches by fundamentalist mobs in Aceh Singkil. Discriminatory legislation, specifically the clause of endorsement signatures for establishment of houses of worship, should be modified or eliminated for the betterment and protection of all Indonesian citizens.
We view it unreasonable for the local community, especially local officials in Aceh Singkil, or anywhere else in Indonesia, to demolish the houses of worship/churches that remain without permits. The state’s duty is to learn why the houses of worship have not been given permission. Supposedly, the duty of the state is to facilitate their ability to have houses of worship, and not vice versa. (Article 14 paragraph 3 and Article 28 paragraph 3 joint decree of Minister of religious Affairs and Minister of Home Affairs No.9 and No. 8 of 2006)
Given their importance to the local population, the government should protect, as opposed to destroying these buildings. Houses of worship are part of freedom of expression and assembly, a right of every citizen guaranteed by the 1945 Constitution and international conventions. That right must not rely on approval from others when intolerance has been gaining a foothold. Your government should simplify the licensing process for the establishment of houses of worship, including minority religions and do away with regulations that are contrary to the constitution and international conventions.
President Widodo, the world is watching. We are confident in your ability to quickly rectify the debatable issues surrounding licensing regulations and instruct local authorities to facilitate the need of granting all citizens the right to houses of worship. We also encourage you to begin a highly visible, nation-wide campaign promoting religious freedom, diversity and human rights to highlight your nation as a place where every citizen may live in peace without fear. We ask for you to turn your attention to those instigating hatred and criminal acts of the violence and to those who carry them out. To hold them accountable with appropriate penalties, to deter these actions now and in the future.
Mr. President, as a member on the world stage, your nation is in a unique position to set the standard as role model of true ‘unity in diversity’. Freedom of religion is a cornerstone right for all other fundamental human rights. At this critical time in history, all must work together to bring awareness and find permanent solutions to live side by side in peace and tolerance.
We pray that you will be remembered in history, as a national champion of human rights, religious freedom and the man who ended religious prejudice throughout Indonesia.
Lois Kanalos, Founder/Advocate
Voice of the Persecuted
Indonesian version available by request at firstname.lastname@example.org
States should ensure that every citizen can worship wherever they are throughout Indonesia.
U.S. Rep. Smith Statement on Reports of Obama Administration’s Plans to Exclude Christians from Genocide Designation
Obama Administration to Overlook Christians in Iraq?
Washington, Nov 13 – News reports that the Obama administration is considering excluding Christians from its potential designation of ISIS genocide victims, and only including the Iraqi religious minority Yazidis, have left U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees global human rights issues, “shocked and dismayed.”
“ISIS has also committed genocide against Christians,” Smith said. “They have been systematically targeted for murder, torture, rape, displacement – extermination – the President should acknowledge this. I am shocked and dismayed that President would even think to exclude the present day genocide of Christians.”
Earlier this year, Pope Francis stated “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 peacemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide – I insist on the word – is taking place, and it must end.”
“Ignoring Christians, and the full range of religious and ethnic groups who have been victims of the ISIS genocide, would continue the President’s policy of silence and weak response,” Smith said. “When will the President actually implement his own Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities and National Security Strategy?”
The “Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities” (Presidential Directive 10, August 4, 2011) states that “Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.” The 2015 “National Security Strategy of the United States” states that “The mass killing of civilians is an affront to our common humanity and a threat to our common security…We have a strong interest in leading an international response to genocide and mass atrocities when they arise, recognizing options are more extensive and less costly when we act preventively before situations reach crisis proportions… we will continue to mobilize allies and partners to strengthen our collective efforts to prevent and respond to mass atrocities using all our instruments of national power.”
Smith co-chaired a 2014 Congressional hearing on the “Genocidal Attacks against Christian and Other Religious Minorities in Syria and Iraq” and has been a long-time champion of preventing genocide, mass atrocities, and war crimes in many parts of the world and holding perpetrators accountable. chrissmith.house.gov