Nina Shea: Obama Policies Discriminate Against Christians While ISIS Commits Religious Genocide

Nina Shea
Nina Shea

The Obama administration maintains that its principal strategic response to the conflict in Syria is humanitarian, not military, and focused on human rights. In Syria as well as Iraq, the consequences of this policy have been shockingly deficient.

 

The West is only now beginning to wake up to its catastrophic results, as Europe struggles with a mass migration of a magnitude the continent has not experienced since the 1940s.

In April, Assad began intensifying the barrel bombing of Aleppo and Damascus’s Sunni neighborhoods while streamlining the passport process. In June, the U.N. was forced, unconscionably, to slash Syrian refugee food rations for lack of funding. Whether it was then, or when human traffickers began operating rickety craft from the port of Izmir, Turkey — leading to some 3,000 drownings — at every juncture, the administration failed to lead a serious effort to mitigate the suffering. This explosion has been building for years. The administration slumbered instead of coordinating an effective allied effort to head off a dangerous and chaotic westward surge of hundreds of thousands, potentially tens of millions, of oppressed and poor migrants, with some terrorists among them.

And that’s not the half of it. In Syria and Iraq, there continues to develop a horrific human-rights crisis that evokes the darkest episodes of World War II. ISIS and other Islamist extremists are waging genocide, the most egregious of all human-rights atrocities, against Christians, Yazidis, Mandaeans, and other defenseless religious minorities, whom the administration, apart from last year’s airstrikes to help the Yazidis, has failed.

This religious genocide is distinct from but simultaneous with the region’s wars. Similar to Jews under Nazi domination during World War II, the Christians and other minorities in the Middle East today are facing, in addition to the wartime privations suffered by the general population, a relentless and deliberate extermination campaign being carried out in the name of Islamic purification.

In the summer of 2014, ISIS launched its caliphate from Mosul by marking Christian homes with the red letter “N,” for “Nazarene,” before confiscating them and exiling their owners. Since then, it has pursued Christians and the other minorities with a systematic intensity intended to delete every trace of their ancient presence. Solely for their religion, Christians and Yazidis have been beheaded, enslaved, abducted and sold, forcibly converted to Islam, and stripped of all their property. Their houses of worship and their cultural artifacts have been expropriated or demolished, including the fifth-century monastery in Qaraytain and Nineveh’s fourth-century Mar Behnam monastery.

Those driven by ISIS from Qaraqosh, the largest Christian town on the Nineveh plain, fill the Mar Elias camp in Erbil, Kurdistan. Every Christian family had a personal story to tell Hudson Institute researchers last week: A dentist tells of her colleague, another dentist, who was kidnapped and is thought now to be either dead or forcibly converted to Islam. Another friend was captured and is feared dead because he once worked for Coalition Forces. After a sibling was captured, her family says, they spent thousands of dollars in ransom scams and have now come to believe that she is an “ISIS bride.” A 14-year-old cousin of another family is also thought to be enslaved.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Nina Shea is director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and co-author of Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Thomas Nelson Publishers, March 2013).

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