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Congressman Chris Smith, Trent Franks, and Commissioner Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz Join Syrian Pastor to Raise Awareness of Genocide Victims at March 21 Reception.   

3/20/2017 Washington D.C., (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) is pleased to announce a reception on Capitol Hill in conjunction with the International Religious Freedom Caucus. Speaking will be Congressman Chris Smith, Congressman Trent Franks, Pastor Edward Awabdeh from Damascus, Syria, and Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 21 at 3:00 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2255.

On March 14, 2016, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 75, declaring that ISIS had committed acts of genocide against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. Within days, the US State Department agreed, formally acknowledging that ISIS atrocities, which included the forced displacement of tens of thousands of Christians and the sexual enslavement of thousands of Yazidi women and girls, constituted the “crime of all crimes.” Yet today, six years after the civil war in Syria began and a full year after the US genocide declaration, the most vulnerable victims of these atrocities continue to suffer unnecessarily due to a lack of humanitarian aid and assistance. In addition, efforts to hold the perpetrators to account have only just begun.

As this region seeks stability, the fate of hundreds of thousands of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria remains uncertain. Join us for this opportunity to hear from and meet directly with these policymakers as well as a pastor who has courageously led his church through six years of a brutal civil war. Attendees will also hear about efforts to bring aid to the persecuted through legislation like H.R. 390, which has garnered 33 cosponsors from both parties[1]. RSVPs are requested. To RSVP, please email Isaac Woodward, Advocacy Fellow for International Christian Concern, at advocacy.fellow@persecution.org.

Isaac Six, ICC’s Advocacy Director, stated, “Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria have been suffering to a degree which frequently staggers belief. Worse still, they have been explicitly targeted for enslavement and annihilation simply on the basis of their faith. The United States has taken important steps toward recognizing and aiding the hundreds of thousands of victims of the ISIS-led genocide, but more can and should be done. It’s our hope that this reception sheds light on the current state of religious minorities in this area and galvanizes action on their behalf.”   

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Press Manager at press@persecution.org

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church.  For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.


[1] Rep. Eshoo, Rep. Meadows, Rep. Fortenberry, Rep. Sessions, Rep. Vargas, Rep. Lipinski, Rep. Franks, Rep. Pittenger, Rep. Bilirakis, Rep. Hultgren, Rep. Weber, Rep. Trott, Rep. Duffy, Rep. Hice, Rep. Slaughter, Rep. Comstock, Rep. King, Rep. Gowdy, Rep. Sensenbrenner, Rep. Burgess, Rep. Schweikert, Rep. Grothman, Rep. McCaul, Rep. Cardenas, Rep. Poe, Rep. Hill, Rep. Fitzpatrick, Rep. Kinzinger, Rep. LaHood, Rep. Garrett, Rep. Cook, Rep. Schiff, Rep. Rooney.