The ISIS Caliphate Is Finished but Christians Still Suffer - Here's How Americans Can Help
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Should Christians be given their own homeland in Iraq and Syria? Watch The Where in the World segment with host Gary Lane to hear the views of the Patriarchs of two of the oldest churches in the Middle East.
WASHINGTON, DC — Although ISIS has been defeated in Iraq and now only controls about five percent of Syria, hundreds of thousands of Christians are still internally displaced or living as refugees in neighboring countries.
Despite military victories and the destruction of the Islamic caliphate, the suffering of Christians there is great.
So, what can Americans Christians and others around the world do to assist them and help defend our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ?
Patriarchs from two of the world's oldest Christian communities gathered in Washington to discuss the needs and possible solutions for Middle East Christians.
Patriarch Moran Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rai, of the Maronite Church of Antioch and Cardinal of the Catholic Church, asked how long must Christians of the region "look their enemy in the teeth," how long must "they be hostages of fear?"
He said they look to America to save them from their crisis as refugees.
John Yazigi, Patriarch of Antioch, said Middle East Christians are looking to the United States government to push for a peaceful settlement in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and other parts of the region.
The two patriarchs spoke at the opening press conference for the "In Defense of Christians" summit on American leadership, and Securing the Future of Christians in the Middle East.
Vice President Mike Pence was the keynote speaker at the IDC dinner Tueaday tonight, and he brought a message of hope for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.
"Christianity is under unprecedented assault in the ancient land where it first grew," Pence said. "Tonight, I came to tell you help is on the way. President Trump and I and our entire administration are working tirelessly to protect these ancient communities," he continued.
Pence also didn't shy away calling the force behind the violence by name.
"President Trump and I see these crimes for what they are: vile acts of persecution animated by hatred for Christians and the gospel of Christ. And so too does this president know who and what has perpetrated these crimes and he calls them by name: radical Islamic terrorism," Pence said.
The vice president rejoiced over the news of the Islamic State's defeat in Raqqa but said it is time to rebuild the broken communities of the Middle East.
"As we begin to see the tides of terror recede, I can assure you that President Trump is committed to help persecuted peoples reclaim their land, return to their homes, rebuild the lives, and replant the roots in their ancient home," he said.
However, Pence announced that the Trump administration will give directly to persecuted Christians on the ground instead of giving through the United Nations.
"The last administration devoted well over a billion dollars in humanitarian aid to the Middle East, but routed the lion's share through programs run by the United Nations. Yet the U.N. has too often failed to help the most vulnerable communities -- especially religious minorities," Pence explained. "And while faith-based groups with proven track records and deep roots in the region are more than willing to assist, the United Nations continues to deny their funding requests."
"Tonight, it is my privilege to announce the President Trump has ordered the State Department to stop funding the ineffective relief efforts of the United Nations and from this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID," he said.
Whatever the future holds, Pence said his faith is in God.
"He will stand with his people wherever they are in this country and in all the countries that are in our hearts this night, the vice president said. "He himself will breathe new life in the community of Christ in that corner of the world where it all began."
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