Iraqi Christians Facing 'Genocidal Onslaught' by Crucifixion
Written by Michael Ireland
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (ANS, Feb.15, 2015) -- The head of the Catholic Chaldean Church in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, says Iraqi Christians have "little time left."
Archbishop Bashar Warda said military ground action is needed because there is no other way to protect the Christians from extinction, according to the BBC.
Meanwhile, CBNNews.com reports that a new religious freedom group says Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq will face genocide if the Islamic State (ISIS) is not defeated and removed.
In a report released last week, the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (www.21wilberforce.org/about.html) says Iraq's ancient faith communities are now facing "existential crisis" and "genocidal onslaught."
CBN News says that in the 19th Century, William Wilberforce led a slave abolition movement with great purpose and intentionality, and his work sparked revival. The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative follows his model of theologically-rooted activism to stand with the persecuted and actively seek restoration of human dignity.
More recently, Congressman Frank Wolf championed human rights and religious freedom on Capitol Hill for 30 years, and has co-founded the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative as his next endeavor.
Randel Everett, co-founder and President, has pastored churches in Florida, Virginia, Arkansas and Texas over the last 30 years and was the founder of The John Leland Center for Theological Studies. Additionally, a staff of fellows includes theologians, professors, writers, pastors and attorneys are associated with the initiative.
CBN News Chief International Correspondent Gary Lane talked earlier with the Wilberforce Initiative President Randel Everett about beheadings, crucifixions, and proposed solutions for protecting Iraqi Christians, on Christian World News, Friday, Feb 13. See the CBN News video here: http://tinyurl.com/owjpqss
On its website, the Wilberforce Initiative says the loss of an important religious and ethnic minority has occurred in Iraq before. In 1948, the Jewish community numbered 150,000. Today, there are less than ten known elderly Jews living in Iraq. An oft-repeated refrain remains grimly germane: “first the Saturday People, then the Sunday People.”
The Initiative says that in the last decade, the Christian community has plummeted from approximately 1.5 million to 300,000. A group of leading Christian religious leaders representing thousands of adherents lamented: “This is not just the end of Christianity but the end of our ethnicity who have lived here for thousands of years. We believe this is genocide.”
They continued: “We do not have opportunities for education. We do not have opportunities for work. We do not have opportunities for healthcare. What is left for us?”
The Islamic State’s desecration and destruction of historic sites of religious and cultural heritage is unprecedented in Iraq. In Mosul, ISIS has turned an 800-year-old house of worship into a place of torture. Another church in Mosul that has existed for 150 years is being utilized as a prison, and yet still another is serving as a weapons storehouse.
Wilberforce Initiative states that all of the religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq face this deplorable reality. Yezidis note that this is the 73rd intentional targeting of their community. What has changed with the Islamic State is the speed and scope by which these religious and ethnic communities are being decimated. The Nineveh Plains had been one of the last relatively safe havens for Christians, Yezidis, Shabak, Turkmen and other minority groups, but with the fall of Mosul and surrounding areas in the summer of 2014, Iraq’s inorities have no place to go and are nearing the precipice of total disappearance.
The Initiative stated: “Immediate action including fresh policy approaches and targeted humanitarian assistance is essential if these minority communities are to be protected within their historic homeland.”
Source: Assist News Service