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ICC Note: Christians across the Middle East have been the victims of increasingly violent and direct persecution at the hands of Islamic extremist groups like ISIS as well as authoritarian regimes in Iran and elsewhere. The result has been many fleeing the region or living under situations absent of fundamental rights. As Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) writes, U.S. foreign policy has both the tools and the obligation to stand with those facing persecution and cannot continue to turn a blind eye to their suffering.

09/12/2015 Middle East (Washington Examiner) Earlier this year, Islamic State militants murdered 21 Coptic Christians in Egypt in cold blood, and then released a video titled “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross,” depicting the horrific act. The video shows a masked man referencing the killing of Osama bin Laden and his burial at sea saying, “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah, we will mix it with your blood.”
Many of the victims cried out to Jesus before being beheaded.
Christianity is under attack globally, and particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where Christian populations are ceasing to exist at astonishing rates due to widespread persecution by Islamists. A recent Pew Research study found that Christians now face persecution in more countries worldwide than any other religious group.
For too long, the world — including the United States — has turned a blind eye to the rampant slaughter, displacement and persecution of Christian groups globally. Recently, heart-wrenching images of men, women and children literally running for their lives have surfaced in Western media, forcing what felt like a distant problem to the forefront of our national consciousness.
Christian populations in the Middle East have steadily reduced over the past few decades, from approximately 20 percent at the start of the 20th century to around 5 percent today. The Islamic State, in particular, has made the eradication of Christianity in the Middle East a top priority.

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