A pivotal time for embattled religious minorities in the Middle East

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The departure of American forces from Syria worries some ancient faiths
ABOUT A MONTH ago, the diverse coalition of people who campaign for the welfare of ancient religious communities in the Middle East experienced a moment of success when Donald Trump signed legislation aiming to help groups in Iraq and Syria that had been targeted for genocide by Islamic State (IS). The president declared that he was signing the bill because “IS has committed horrifying atrocities against religious and ethnic minorities in Syria and Iraq, including Christians, Yazidis, Shia and other groups.”

This was a high point in a protracted lobbying effort by a coalition that included the energetic, upwardly-mobile diaspora of Middle Eastern Christians; conservative American Christians who feel their co-religionists are under threat from fundamentalist Islam in many parts of the world; and people who advocate the general principle of religious freedom, regardless of which groups are being persecuted and who the persecutors are. The Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, which Mr Trump signed, was introduced by Chris Smith, a Republican congressman. He has worked to enforce and broaden the legislation that binds American governments to monitor and promote liberty of belief in all countries.