Signs of Hope for Persecuted Christians
December has brought hopeful developments for our brothers and sisters in the faith in Iraq and Syria. Since the rise of ISIS, these communities have faced persecution and the threat of genocide.
On December 11, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018 was signed into law. This bipartisan legislation was passed unanimously by both chambers of the United States Congress, and authorizes the “financial and technical” assistance for “humanitarian, stabilization, and recovery needs” for former and current religious minority residents of Iraq and Syria.
This assistance could come through the federal government or through other entities — including faith-based ones — that are providing support to address the recovery.
In addition, the legislation allows the State Department, collaborating with other federal agencies, to conduct criminal investigations and apprehend individuals identified as alleged ISIS members, and identify warning signs of genocide and threats of persecution. READ MORE.
The Knights of Columbus, which has raised more than $20 million for Middle East minorities through its Christian Refugee Relief Fund, worked with congressional leaders and Vice President Mike Pence in promoting the bill.
On December 7 in Karamles, an Iraq town rebuilt with help from the Knights of Columbus, the Christian community gathered for a rededication Mass in the rebuilt Mar Addai Chaldean Catholic Church, which had been destroyed and desecrated by ISIS. READ MORE.