Christians at risk of being wiped out in Iraq and Syria amid intense persecution from ISIS

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Erika Pilones
Christians in Iraq and Syria face the risk of extinction due to actions of genocide suffered from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Many Christian churches in Syria and Iraq are reportedly being destroyed by the extreme Islamic group. Millions of their members are forced to flee their hometowns as refugees, while those who left behind are killed.
(Reuters/Omar Sanadiki)A Syrian national flag flutters next to the Islamic State’s slogan at a roundabout where executions were carried out by ISIS militants in the city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate, Syria in this April 1, 2016 file photo.

Many of these churches have been around for thousands of years already. As Juliana Taimoorazy, executive director and founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, stressed in an interview with National Catholic Register, “We gave a lot to Christianity as Eastern Christians, and we gave a lot to humanity as the Assyrian people: Our history is 6,700 years old, and we established the first library in the world, among other contributions.”

The Roman Catholic Church is also one of the religious groups that condemns the displacement of many Christian communities. In Nineveh Plains in Iraq for instance, more than 100,000 Christians have been forced to flee since the Islamic State occupied the region.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, said, according to Christian Post, that these Christians have been forcibly relocated and threatened, and they now worry about their survival.

Still, some leaders of the Catholic religious group, including Bishop Yousif Habash of Syrian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance based in New Jersey, believe that even though ISIS may take away everything from the Christians, there is one thing that they cannot take away, and that is their faith.

Many religious groups and leaders have called for people to pray for the persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria, specifically for their survival. Taimoorazy further reflected that after survival, they will also need restoration and then rebuilding.

Father Douglas al-Bazi, a priest who has experienced the wrath of ISIS, warned people of the dangers to come, saying in an interview with Christian Post that the word “genocide” is an understatement. The Islamic State is not only cooking a one-time event. They are rather trying to change history by wiping out an entire people group.