Middle Eastern Activist Groups Urge U.S. to Deliver Direct Aid to Christian Minorities Affected by ISIS

Kristina Olney, director of government relations and outreach for In Defense of Christians, speaks to members of the National Apostolate of Maronites (NAM) during the 52nd Annual National Maronite Convention. (Charlie Kadado/Lebanese Examiner)
Kristina Olney, director of government relations and outreach for In Defense of Christians, speaks to members of the National Apostolate of Maronites (NAM) during the 52nd Annual National Maronite Convention. (Charlie Kadado/Lebanese Examiner)

A coalition of Middle Eastern Christians are calling on U.S. congressional leaders to send “direct aid” to religious minorities in countries impacted by ISIS.

Officials at In Defense of Christians (IDC), a DC-based advocacy group, say religious minorities in the Middle East are not receiving enough aid from the U.S. government.

According to IDC, USAID partners have reached only 24 percent of displaced population residing outside of refugee camps.

Toufic Baaklini, founder of IDC, said U.S. foreign policy directly impacts Middle Eastern Christians.

“An advocacy group is most needed in DC and on (Capitol) Hill,” Baaklini said. “The policy (in the Middle East) is not going to make any difference, but in the United States, much more can get done.”

Baaklini, a Lebanese-American activist, said the organization is launching local advocacy groups in U.S. states to gather grassroots support and encourage Middle Eastern Christians in the U.S. to contact their members of Congress.

Baaklini said Middle Eastern Christians should urge their representative to join the ‘Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus.”

“This is one our latest projects to have better access to foreign policymakers,” Baaklini said.

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SOURCE: LebaneseExaminer

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