Sunday, August 03, 2014

The targeting of Iraqi Christians

Last week, US House Rep Trent Franks weighed in on the targeting of Christians in Iraq.

Here's the transcript of what's being said.

US House Rep Trent Franks:  Mr. President, last month, 55 colleagues of mine and myself sent you and Secretary Kerry a letter asking that you actively prioritize security and humanitarian support for the Christian community in Iraq.  We specifically warned you of the dangers and brutality of the terrorist group ISIS who are now rampaging across Iraq and terrorizing the vulnerable Christian population.  In the letter, we specifically pointed out that "parts of Syria and Iraq that have previously fallen under the rule of ISIS have witnessed summary executions, beheadings and even crucifixions."  And that "absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness an annihilation of a faith community from the lands they've inhabited for centuries."  Tragically, Mr. President, you simply ignored us again -- as you've done so many times before.  And now ISIS, the group you once likened to a junior varsity basketball team, is beheading its way across Iraq and has declared that there will be "nothing for the Christians but the sword" if they do not convert.  Mr. President, last week, ISIS torched an 1800-year-old church in Mosul and deliberately and insidiously destroyed the historic tomb of Jonah.  Last Sunday, for the first time in 1600 years, there was no mass in Mosul.  The head of Iraq's Christian community said, "For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians."  And now images of ISIS' beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture and mass execution are all over the internet and social media.  Just yesterday, I met with a group of NGOs based in Iraq who told me that ISIS recently beheaded 6 Christians and then proceeded to play soccer with their decapitated heads.  Mr. President, ISIS's targeting of Christians has been systematic and horrifying and Iraq's Christians in the area are now nearly extinct.  It can rightly be called "targeted religious cleansing."  And, sir, it is a crime against humanity.  And yet, Mr. President, we have not heard a single word from you -- even as a literal Christian genocide is taking place at this very moment, you have not uttered even one syllable about what your administration is doing or planning to do to relieve or protect these persecuted Christians in Iraq.  So now speaking with you and pleading with you directly, sir, I once again repeat the words we wrote in our letter to you a month ago: "We urge you and your administration to urgently and actively engage with the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to prioritize additional security support for these particularly vulnerable populations and provide emergency humanitarian assistance to those effected communities.  Absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness the annihilation of ancient faith community from the lands they've inhabited for centuries.  Mr. President, if you continue to ignore this Christian genocide in Iraq, history will record that it was you who idly stood on the sidelines and knowingly let it happen.

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