Trump administration launched multi-million-dollar program to help the Christian victims
President Donald Trump’s administration is supporting the fight to prevent the extinction of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq following the genocidal campaign at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS /ISIL).
Religious minority representatives announced the assistance this week at the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom convened by the Department of State.
The U.S. government determined that ISIS has committed genocide against Christians, Yazidis, among other religious minorities during its reign of terror from 2014.
The Trump administration launched h a multi-million-dollar program to help the Christian victims of the brutal campaign, as many religious leaders warned of the groups were facing extinction.
Last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, warned that Christians were facing ‘imminent extinction’ in the middle east.
Welby declared to his followers that the ‘daily threat of murder’ is getting worse and the situation is now worse than the ‘Mongol invasions of the 13th century’.
The Archbishop advised the Government to take in more Christian refugees, due to figures suggesting just one in 400 Syrian refugees given asylum last year were Christian.
But a Chaldean Catholic priest from a parish in a Christian Iraqi town suggested that hope had returned to religious minority communities because of the Trump administration.
Fr. Thabet Habib Youssef, a Chaldean Catholic priest from the town of Karamles in Iraq’s Nineveh province, thanked Trump for his assistance.
The priest, known as Fr. Thabet, said:
I wish to give thanks to the government of the United States for including us in this important conference and a special thanks to the administration of President Trump for his concern and commitment to the persecuted minority communities in Iraq.
I can say this conference gives us hope. Our greatest fear in the early years was that the world would forget us. This conference tells us we are not forgotten.
Almost half of the Christian families who escaped Karamles, which was liberated by U.S. and local forces in 2016, have returned and Fr. Thabet expects more to come.
“We are determined to return and rebuild,” he proclaimed.
“Today we have 45 percent of our families returned, and we hope in this next year we will see many more,” he added.
He continued saying the that Iraqi government needs to do more to bring about “real change and support for the protection, safety, and equal rights for the minority communities of Iraq.”
According to Breitbart’s report: Yazidis bore the brunt of ISIS’s genocidal campaign.
Three hundred fifty thousand of them remain displaced in Iraqi Kurdistan and 3,000 of their women, many sold into sexual slavery, remain missing, Nadia Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient who survived the jihadis group’s atrocities noted during the ministerial summit Tuesday.
Haider Elias – the president of Yazda, a U.S.-based global Yazidi non-governmental organization (NGO) – told Breitbart News that the situation for Yazidis is starting to change under the Trump administration, noting that the U.S. government is trying to bring them back to Sinjar.
“These things are going to potentially change the lives of Yazidis and their view that it’s going to be a good place for them to live,” he added.
Elias remarked that security had improved in Sinjar, a town decimated by ISIS jihadists when they captured large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014.
“The security situation has changed for the better in the Sinjar area. ISIS has been defeated thankfully. … Half of Yazidi lands used to be under ISIS control before the [Trump] administration took over and what has happened recently is every single Yazidi village has been liberated from ISIS,” he told Breitbart News.
Although the U.S. completely annihilated the ISIS territorial caliphate in March, the jihadi group remains an insurgency menace, the Pentagon’s inspector general has warned.
“Yazidis are still facing the threat of genocide. ISIS has been defeated militarily, but they have not lost their ideology, manpower, and support,” Hadi Pir, the vice-president of the Yazda NGO, acknowledged.
Yazda is benefiting from the Trump administration’s arrangement to directly assist religious minorities through U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) and faith-based partners instead of paying for U.N. programs that can divert money to other projects, a move praised by the Christians and Yazidis alike.
“The U.S. has always been a symbol of freedom for persecuted people around the world. If minorities like Yazidis and Christians would have vanished from the Middle East, it would show the world the United States is not invested in promoting its values and a lot of people would lose hope,” Pir told Breitbart News.
“But now that this administration has intervened, the hope is back,” he added.
Echoing the Yazidi activist, Fr. Muntaser Haddad from the U.S.-based St. Ephrem Syriac Catholic Church said that the Christian community in Iraq is also optimistic about their future.
The priest, originally from the Christian Iraqi town of Qaraqosh in Nineveh province, told Breitbart News, “There is hope among the Christians in the Middle East now that the United States is helping them.”
The future of Christianity and other religious minorities in the Middle East is contingent upon the continued assistance of the United States, the priest indicated.