Call to action: Tell the Senate to pass HR 390, Provide aid for Christians in Syria & IraqAugust 29, 2017
Christians in the Middle East need you to speak up on their behalf! Urge your US Senators to pass HR 390, key legislation to help Christians safely return to their homes in Syria and Iraq.
We are the Body of Christ— when one part suffers, all suffers. When we hear about Christians half a world away attacked for their belief in Jesus Christ— the Father expects us to hear this as violence carried out against the members of our very own family. So if we actually believe that, we must be compelled to action.
Leverage your influence on behalf of these members of our family to tell your Senators in Washington, DC, to pass HR 390 to bring justice and relief for Christians in Iraq. Let them know the window of time to rebuild is brief and we cannot delay.
How to help:
1. Tell your Senator to pass HR 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017 (Find your Senator here)
2. Contact Senate leadership with power over this legislation: Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (202) 224-4651 and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (202) 224-2541.
3. Add your name to the thousands already speaking out: Sign this petition hosted by Persecution.org.
Why the urgency:
Fifteen years ago, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Today, many put that number around 200,000. The Islamic State desolated the region, killing, subjugating or expelling Christians and other religious minorities from their homes and homeland. While many villages in northern Iraq are finally liberated from ISIS control, there are growing concerns about what’s next.
Former US Congressman Frank Wolf is a leading voice on human rights and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. He just returned from his fifth trip to the region and outlines the urgency to act now:
“Three years on and following the liberation of most of the Christian and Yazidi villages in northern Iraq, including Mosul, there is an ever-increasing concern that many of the ethnic and religious minority communities will be unable to return homes due to the destruction, and the growing political tensions between the central government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and other non-state actors. If something bold is not done by the United States and the international community, I believe we will see the end of Christianity in the cradle of Christendom and a loss of religious and ethnic diversity throughout the region which could result in further destabilization across the Middle East and present a threat to U.S. national security interests.”
From an eternal perspective and from the perspective of Jesus surveying His Church from the right hand of God in heaven right now, we actually have more in common with the Iraqi Christians than with a middle-class American non-believer next door. Because the Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that all of the outward indicators— wealth, race, language or nationality— obscure what really matters: the familial relationship we share because of Christ. Let’s speak up on behalf of our brothers and sisters!
Listen to our special report on HR 390 with Rep Frank Wolf and Tom Farr:
HR 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017, is a bi-partisan bill, co-sponsored by Congressman Chris Smith (R- NJ) and Anna Eshoo (D- CA). The House passed HR 390 on June 6 but it has languished in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Committee failed to act on the bill for the 37 legislative days from when it was received it until recess.
HR 390 requires no new appropriation of funds. It authorizes and directs the utilization of already-appropriated funds to do the following:
- Provide humanitarian aid to minority faith and ethnic communities that have been affected by war crimes and genocide and are in desperate need of assistance.
- Authorizes and directs the State Department and USAID to support criminal investigations on-the-ground in Iraq to hold members of ISIS and perpetrators of war crimes accountable, strengthening U.S. efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism.
Read Congressman Frank Wolf’s full report here and know what’s at stake:
- Justice and relief for Christians and religious minorities who have suffered unspeakable atrocities and wish to return to their homes in peace. After all of the destruction and pain, Iraqi Christians still want to return to the region and reclaim their land and churches. But they fear for their safety and wonder if the Iraqi government will protect them and their interest.
- The disappearance of Christianity from the cradle of Christendom. Northern Iraq holds some of the most historically important landmarks and artifacts to the Christian faith. The native witness of Christianity in the Middle East could be entirely wiped out if we do nothing.
- Regional stability depends on a religiously pluralistic Iraq. Particularly, Iran is seeking to take advantage of the instability in the region and expand its reach and influence. Rep Wolf goes on to note:
Iran is developing a land corridor stretching from Iran, through Iraq and to the Syrian port of Latakia on the Mediterranean. If achieved, this will aid Hezbollah and Assad and become a direct threat to Israel and to US regional interests and national security.
Photo credit: 21Wilberforce