By Julie McDonald-Smith
Compared with all of the talk of whether to continue to admit Muslim refugees and asylum seekers into the United States, another important aspect of the Middle East inferno is getting relatively less attention.
Christians are quite literally being exterminated in the Middle East, and I can find very little evidence that our president really cares.
Eliza Griswold of The New York Times Magazine did write about this catastrophe in July, and Perry Chiaramonte wrote about it for Fox News last month, yet what has the United States done to help?
This past spring, one thing the Obama administration had done was extradite and criminally charge some 24 Iraqi Christians, or Chaldeans, with falsifying their asylum applications. Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International, told Hollie McKay of FoxNews.com “I’ve never seen anything like this and I’ve been doing this work for more than 20 years. Western governments should allow persecuted minority Christians asylum within their borders. This should be a priority over other asylum seekers.”
McKay goes on to say in her reporting, “Jacobson and other critics say the Obama administration has turned its back on Christians in the Middle East, whose numbers have dwindled in the face of ISIS, which forces Christians to convert, pay a special tax or face execution in the territory it controls within Iraq and Syria. A Gatestone Institute report notes that since the start of this year, more than 4,200 Muslims have been admitted into the U.S. from Iraq, but only 727 Christians – making it a ratio of around 5 to 1 – despite the fact that Christians are a heavily targeted ‘infidel’ minority.
“Iraq’s Christian population is one of the most ancient in the world, but is teetering on extinction amid Islamic extremism and government corruption – dwindling from around 1.5 million in 2003 to well below 200,000 now. Under the reign of ISIS, Christians in the region have been brutally persecuted and intentionally crucified, with their own churches reportedly used as torture chambers in which they are given the grim option of converting to Islam or being slaughtered.”
Where is the drumbeat to bring these people to the United States? Why aren’t we bringing these huddled masses to our shores? In addition, why aren’t we stepping in to help in these people in their homelands? Is Obama going to willingly preside over the extermination of an entire religion in one part of the world whose roots are in the Middle East?
Please recall, ISIS did not exist before Obama. Say what you will about President George W. Bush going into Iraq in the first place, but Obama’s precipitous withdrawal from that country, ignoring his own red lines in Syria, and the support he and Hillary Clinton gave to the Arab spring, gave birth to and helped fuel the rise of ISIS, and the current, spreading madness that is overtaking the Middle East. Seems curious, doesn’t it?
If Christianity is wiped off the face of the Middle East, which some analysts say could happen within a decade, this will be on Obama’s watch, and all who align with and support his administration. Amid all the cries to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into the U.S., when ISIS has publicly stated they will use this stream to bring even more of their fighters here, there seems to be a deafening silence from Obama and others on the plight of Christians who are being persecuted into oblivion.
This Christmas season, let’s do our part to support and pray for our fellow human beings in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere who are being slaughtered for believing in a God of love, by those who believe in a God of killing.
Julie McDonald-Smith lives in North Yarmouth. She is a registered nurse, former Capitol Hill staffer, publicity chairwoman of the Cumberland County Republican Committee, and occasional guest host on WGAN 560AM. Her column appears every other week.