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ICC Note: Advocates and Academics working on gaining greater recognition by lawmakers of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East have pointed to the American church as a missing piece in their campaign. If even a small percentage of those who identify as Christians in the Middle East made these issues a political expectation of their representatives or of political candidates it would force them to develop a policy statement, something many are just not required to do at present.

12/08/2015 Middle East (CNA) – Christians in the U.S. must stop their apathy to the bloody persecution of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, said a religious freedom advocate who proposed an “examination of conscience” for faith communities.

“I am struck by the widespread apathy and indifference and ignorance concerning this issue among Christians, let alone others,” said Timothy Samuel Shah, associate director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Shah spoke at a Dec. 4 Heritage Foundation panel on “Christian martyrs today.” The panel said they would welcome a designation of genocide by the U.S. for Christians, Yazidis, and other ethno-religious minorities targeted by ISIS in Iraq in Syria, but Shah added that much more must be done by U.S. Christians to aid these persecuted groups.

“Just as a basic matter of our experiencing the suffering of our brothers and sisters in some kind of way, experiencing some kind of solidarity, we are failing the test,” he said, calling his own Catholic parish “pretty indifferent” to the plight of persecuted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

“I don’t hear a lot of real outrage from Christian leaders about this issue, on a regular, consistent basis,” Shah said. “Where are the widespread demonstrations? Where are letters by thousands and thousands of pastors to appropriate leaders to do more about this? Where are the spontaneous grassroots campaigns? I don’t see them.”

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