On June 13, Mark Green, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), finally offered some good news for the persecuted Christians and Yazidis in Iraq. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journalentitled: “Help Is on the Way for Middle Eastern Christians,” he wrote:
“Every day of delay brings persecuted communities that much closer to extinction. In Iraq alone, nearly 90% of Christians have fled in the past 15 years, emptying entire villages that had stood for more than a thousand years. The Yazidi population has been similarly decimated. Without immediate additional support, these groups may be forced to continue their unprecedented exodus, perhaps never to return to their ancient homes.
“The time to act is now. Christians, Yazidis and other persecuted religious communities in the Middle East have suffered unspeakable harm for too long. Their plight has touched the hearts of the American people and stirred this nation to step up with compassion and conviction. President Trump promised to provide them with the help they need to rebuild their communities and restore their hope, and we will work tirelessly to break down any barrier that stands in the way.”
The 2014 invasion of the region of Sinjar (or Shingal) in Iraq by the Islamic State (ISIS) brought a mostly forgotten community to the attention of the world: the Yazidis, one of the world’s most persecuted ethno-religious groups. A peaceful, non-Muslim people who oppose bloodshed, Yazidis have for centuries been targeted for their faith. Their native lands contain parts of Iraq, Turkey and Syria. Yazidis say that they have been subjected to 74 genocidal campaigns and severe oppression throughout their history at the hands of Islamists.
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