ICC Note: An Assyrian Christian and founder of Iraqi Christians Relief Council recently spoke on the situation in Iraq with The Reconnect. Her words echoed the cries of her people who still suffer immense persecution and genocide at the hands of radical jihadists in Iraq and Syria. It’s important to remember that these displaced Christians still hope to one day return to their homes.
07/17/2016 Iraq (The Reconnect): Juliana Taimoorazy, an Assyrian Christian and Founding President of the Iraqi Christians Relief Council, joined The Reconnect on Tuesday to update us on the situation in the Middle East and the persecuted Church.
Why should we care?
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration finally recognized the fact that ISIS is committing genocide through crucifixion, beheading, immolation, torture, sexual enslavement, mass rape, forced evictions, and additional atrocities. It is now clear to everyone that Islamic State jihadists intentionally target Christians and other religious minorities.
Specifically in regards to the persecuted Church, this violence is being carried out against members of our family: our brothers and sisters in Christ. Together, we are members of one body– the question is do we believe that? And if so, does it compel us to act?
We are all witnesses to these atrocities and we cannot deny what we know nor can we deny that we are in a position to do something to stop it.
What should we know?
Juliana shared that parts of Iraq could be called the second Holy City because it is home to so much of Christian history. But ISIS intends to kill and destroy all people whose faith is not their narrow brand of Sunni Islam. In 2003, there were around 1.5-1.6 million Assyrian Christians. Today there are only 200,000 left.
Soon the cradle of Christianity will be devoid of Christians, devoid of the Christian witness, devoid of any vestige of Christian heritage as ISIS not only kills or drives out Christians, it destroys ancient holy sites and manuscripts.
Juliana noted that although the US government declared what is happening at the hands of ISIS to Christians and other religious minorities is genocide, not much has changed as a result.
Iraqi Christians want to return home, and they are advocating for the international community to recreate a peaceful and safe homeland for Christians on the Nineveh plains.