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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why the Question of Christian vs. Muslim Refugees Has Become So Incredibly Divisive




The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Christians make up a tiny percentage of the Syrian refugees the United States has resettled. Is that wrong?

The topic is raging this week, with multiple governors and GOP presidential candidates saying Syrian refugees should be shut out after the Paris attacks by Muslim radicals. President Obama then said it was "shameful" to have a religious test for refugees of war. "That's not American. That's not who we are. We don't have religious tests to our compassion," he said.

In fact, the role of religion in how refugees are considered and how the United States looks at persecution is more complicated. Religion is considered by both the United Nations and the State Department, which defines a refugee as "someone who has fled from his or her home country and cannot return because he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group."

A torrent of other issues also come when refugee status is considered. How severely persecuted is the group? Is their religion the primary factor or are there other issues, such as political or ethnic affiliations that are equally or more significant? Does the group have other options, anywhere to else to go?

Whether the United States works too hard or not hard enough for persecuted Christians overseas has become increasingly explosive in the last decade. In that period, conditions for religious minorities in the Middle East have seriously deteriorated. And in the United States, some religious Americans see hostility in President Obama's liberalizing policies about birth control and gay rights. Among many of these people, and others, anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise. Some 30 percent of Americans wrongly believe Obama is Muslim.

Advocates for Middle Eastern Christians note that this group is disappearing from the region of Jesus's birth in the rubble of government chaos in Iraq, Syria and Egypt.

This week such Americans were jarred by a Yahoo News report that the State Department is about to designate the Islamic State's assault on the small population of Yazidis in Iraq genocide -- a very rare move that could have implications for the United States to hold perpetrators accountable. While other religious minorities from the region, including Christians, are described as severely persecuted for their faith, the Yazidis are described as under a particular kind of siege.

The report suggests the government is influenced by a Nov. 12 paper by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. That paper said the Islamic State "is carrying out a widespread, systematic, and deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity" against Yazidis, Christians, Turkmen, Shabak and other minority groups. Of that group, only the Yazidis faced genocide because "the attacks on them were to make sure no future Yazidis would be born. To end them as a people altogether," Naomi Kikoker, deputy director of the center, told The Post. She cited interviews with residents and said Christians "faced slightly different treatment" if "horrific," being forced to leave, pay a tax or convert.

That was the first time the museum had declared anything a genocide since 2004, when it used the term for the Darfur region of Sudan.

But the possibility of a State Department proclamation led prominent advocates for Middle Eastern Christians to say it showed bias.

"If true, it would reflect a familiar pattern within the administration of a politically correct bias that views Christians -- even non-Western congregations such as those in Iraq and Syria -- never as victims but always as Inquisition-style oppressors," wrote Nina Shea in National Review Nov. 13.

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Why the Question of Christian vs. Muslim Refugees Has Become So Incredibly Divisive

West Has 'Betrayed the Christians of the East,' Says Syrian Patriarch



 
The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

The head of the Syrian Catholic Church, Mar Ignace Youssif III Youan, has said the West has betrayed Syrians and caused an endless conflict in the country.

Speaking to Le Messenger, an Egpytian Catholic magazine, Youan spoke passionately about the "chaos" that Western governments have caused by ignoring the advice of Syrians, assuming that Assad's regime could be destroyed in a few months, and now having faith in airstrikes as the answer when ISIS has thoroughly infiltrated Iraq, Syria and beyond.

"We Christians are not able to live in this chaos," the Syrian Patriarch said. "The West has betrayed us."

The patriarch accused Western governments of wanting to "perpetuate the endless conflict in Syria" and of having "betrayed the Christians of the East. We explained from the beginning that our situation was different from that of other nations in the region, they were not listened to. And now we mourn deaths over the past five years. "

He described the current situation in Syria as "dramatic, and all the Syrian people are living in pain" as they are trapped under the regime of ISIS and other terrorist groups "who use Islam as an excuse to 'purify' areas under their control in the name of religion, and Muslim scholars who tell us that Islam is alien to these facts.

"It's a shame that the West has abandoned Christians to this situation," he said.

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West Has 'Betrayed the Christians of the East,' Says Syrian Patriarch


Saturday, November 14, 2015

US Government Must Designate ISIS Attacks As Genocide for All Groups

 
Christina Khader Ebada, a 3 year-old Assyrian girl, was abducted from her family last August by ISIS as they were leaving Baghdede.

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(AINA) -- There are reports in the media that state the Obama Administration will designate ISIS's attacks on Yazidis in Iraq as genocide, without giving the same designation to ISIS's attacks on Assyrians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria, even though these attacks targeted both groups and were conducted in tandem.

There is no question as to the suffering of the Yazidis and Assyrians. Thousands of Yazidis have been killed, Yazidi women have been captured and raped and sold as sex slaves. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis have been displaced. 200,000 Assyrians were driven from the Nineveh Plains in North Iraq last year (AINA 2014-08-07) in the ISIS attack that began -- not coincidentally -- on August 7, the Assyrian Martyrs Day. Most have not returned and are living as refugees in Arbel and Dohuk.

ISIS has destroyed or occupied 45 Assyrian churches in Mosul. It has killed Assyrians in Mosul. It has snatched Assyrian girls from the arms of their mothers, never to be seen again.

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ISIS Genocide Victims Do Not Include Christians, the State Department Is Poised to Rule



 
The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

A report by a renowned journalist states that Christians are to be excluded from an impending official United States government declaration of ISIS genocide. If true, it would reflect a familiar pattern within the administration of a politically correct bias that views Christians -- even non-Western congregations such as those in Iraq and Syria -- never as victims but always as Inquisition-style oppressors. (That a State Department genocide designation for ISIS may be imminent was acknowledged last week in congressional testimony, by Ambassador Anne Patterson, the assistant secretary of the State Department's Near East Bureau.)

Yazidis, according to the story by investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, are going to be officially recognized as genocide victims, and rightly so. Yet Christians, who are also among the most vulnerable religious minority groups that have been deliberately and mercilessly targeted for eradication by ISIS, are not. This is not an academic matter. A genocide designation would have significant policy implications for American efforts to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups and for offers of aid, asylum, and other protections to such victims. Worse, it would mean that, under the Genocide Convention, the United States and other governments would not be bound to act to suppress or even prevent the genocide of these Christians.

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ISIS Genocide Victims Do Not Include Christians, the State Department Is Poised to Rule


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