U.S. Christians Must Stand Up For Our Middle Eastern Brothers And Sisters

Millions of Christians have fled their homes in Syria and Iraq since 2011 fearing genocide at the hands of Islamic extremists. Christians across the broader Middle East regularly face persecution for practicing their faith. Christians in Iraq and Syria face some of the most severe persecution of any religious group in the world, stemming from the spread of ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups.

Christians in the United States must take an active role in addressing this crisis by advocating for a foreign policy agenda that promotes stability in the Middle East, and protects our brothers and sisters in Christ. These reforms may include: increasing the number of Christian refugees from the Middle East to the United States; creating a protective space for Christians in Iraq and Syria; and dramatically increasing military operations against Islamic extremists.

The violence and persecution faced by Christians in Iraq and Syria signifies the failure of the Obama administration’s foreign policy agenda. The Obama administration relied heavily on a “leading from behind” foreign policy approach throughout its disastrous eight-year tenure, and allowed ISIS to gain a significant foothold in Iraq and Syria.

This bleak tenure had significant effects across the broader Middle Eastern Christian community, as families flee their homes with no place to go. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which once boasted one of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

When ISIS gained control of Mosul in 2014, over 100,000 Christians fled their homes in fear of violence and persecution. Christians who were forced to stay are subject to Islamic rule, which forces them to pay high taxes, convert to Islam, or face public execution. While Mosul is now free from ISIS control, the damage remains.

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