Someone Tell the President: Iraqi Christians are Dying

In the case of Iraq’s religious minorities, the Obama White House’s time delay has had deadly results.

It’s starting to seem as if the Obama White House operates on a time delay. In the case of Iraq’s religious minorities, the results have been deadly.

On June 10, the barbaric extremists called the Islamic State captured the city of Mosul. By mid-July, they issued an edict to the Christians who remained to “convert, leave or be killed.”

The White House said nothing.

Beginning on July 22, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., took to the House floor six times to plead for attention from the Obama administration as a genocide threatened Iraq.

Not a word from the president.

On July 24, a resolution sponsored by Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., “condemning the severe persecution (of) Christians and other ethnic and religious minority communities . . . in Iraq” was introduced on the floor of the House. It called for the administration to “develop and implement an immediate, coordinated and sustained humanitarian intervention.”


On Aug. 1, the House of Representatives passed a resolution sponsored by Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., calling for protection of religious minorities in Iraq.

It wasn’t until Aug. 5 that the administration acknowledged the crisis in Iraq. It was done in the form of a statement, condemning attacks on religious minorities, by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.

By last Thursday (Aug. 7), the largely Christian towns of Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh had fallen to the Islamic State.

Finally, later that night — and two full months after the crisis began — President Obama announced airstrikes in Iraq and for the first time acknowledged that Christians are being driven from the homeland of their faith. But the Christians garnered a passing mention, while the religious minority of Yazidis seems to be what moved the president to act.

An Iraqi Christian leader lamented to me that his people would have to convert to get the administration’s attention.

The Yazidis deserve protection and humanitarian aid, but so do the Christians who number in the hundreds of thousands in Iraq. While the Yazidis received air drops of food and water, nothing has been dropped to the Christians who are homeless and in dire need of food and water. Each day that passes is a matter of life and death.

Why the indifference from the administration?

The disinterest in the suffering of Iraqi Christians has been a bipartisan travesty. During the Bush administration, nearly a million Christians fled Iraq in fear for their lives. Ironically, it was Sen. Barack Obama who sent the Bush State Department a letter in 2007 inquiring about this persecution. Incredibly, the Bush administration denied there was a problem.

Rep. Eshoo, a Chaldean Catholic whose father fled religious persecution in Iran, told me, “This issue has been viewed with a real Western eye and a lack of understanding and appreciation of who is there and how important these religious minorities are. In the case of the Christians, these are the oldest Christians in the world. They represent part of the glue for a diverse society if there is to be one there. This whole issue represents an American value of diversity and protection of minorities.”

Someone please tell the president.

Image via Shutterstock.

The views expressed in this piece belong to the author.

  • tanyam

    This doesn’t have to be a reason for Christians to claim special discrimination. I can imagine many, many reasons why military intervention might happen here but not there. And thus have been used for the benefit of the Yazidis, but not for all the Christians in Iraq. For the record, the US hasn’t entered the fighting in the Congo, and millions have died, and it hasn’t entered Syria, though hundreds of thousands have died and the fighting has gone on for months, — and the list goes on. Just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you can fix a problem. You need a cause, yes, but also a chance of success. Getting a concentrated group of people off a mountain into a nearby safe zone is relatively easy. The Yazidis just happened to be in that place, with a relatively easy (though temporary) solution to their problem. It does no good to scream “religious discrimination!” without a fair understanding of the facts, and what the use of force would entail. The US has not (and it appears will not) enter Iraq to secure whole cities again. Period. Its not a religion thing.

  • Faye

    It’s in our hands to save those crying for help.

  • MoandShirl Herbert

    Im happy that the Yazidis are being rescued I dont know anything about their beliefs but if they dont know Christ Im praying they will discover Him, they need time, this may sound harsh but its coming from a loving heart. The Bible says many of us will be put to the sword for His name sake, I pray for those Christians to love not their lives unto death, my heart breaks for the children but each one will be transported into the arms of their Saviour! We need to encourage each other to do what we can for our brothers and sisters but Im praying for them to keep the faith, I am strengthening ourselves as well if that should happen to us! Death and persecution is Not the worst thing that can happen to us, converting to save our skin or the skin of our loved ones is. Please pray for them, I also pray for God to intervene where theres torture! And those woman who have been taken, to keep their eyes on Jesus! The world has become very scary and we must fortify one another!