Genocide in Iraq and Syria exposes divide among American Chaldeans

  • Written by:

Lorraine Caballero
The genocide of Christians in Iraq and Syria has exposed a big divide in the Iraqi-American Christian community and has sparked a debate on whether the violence inflicted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) should push Chaldeans to remain in their homeland or seek asylum elsewhere.
(Reuters/Khalid al Mousily)Iraqi Christians pray as they attend a Good Friday mass at a church in Baghdad, March 25, 2016.

The Iraqi-American Christians following Baghdad-based Patriarch Sako are being urged to remain in their homeland despite the genocide that ISIS is committing against them. The 250,000 Chaldeans in Detroit obey Sako, who in turn closely follows Pope Francis’ directive, Fox News details.

The other group, which is headed by Bishop Mar Sarhad Jammo, holds that Chaldeans should leave their homeland in order to survive. Bishop Jammo holds influence over more than 150,000 Chaldeans in Southern California. He has also started cooperating with American-Chaldean community national spokesperson Mark Arabo to ask help from the White House and Congress in campaigning for the resettlement of persecuted Christians in the United States.

In an interview with Fox, Arabo explained that they want to make sure that the Christians who want to flee are provided with the means for their flight. However, he also said that they also support those who want to follow Sako’s directive. Patriarch Sako, on the other hand, has repeatedly asserted his view against the other group’s stance.

“A Christian community that was born in these lands cannot organize exodus trips that will mark its distinction,” Sako told the Vatican Insider last year.

Meanwhile, Luma Simms of The Federalist has urged Israel to help stop ISIS’ genocide against Christians if the United States is not willing to lift a finger to do so. She said Israel is the Arab Christians’ last hope since America is not taking a leadership role in the refugee problem.

However, Simms pointed out that Israel would first have to overcome the neighboring countries’ anti-Semitism if it were to help Iraqi Christians. She said Arab Christians in America and in other nations now feel caught in between Muslims and Israelis in the issue, and their lack of resources and status as a weak minority has made them feel bitter, but Israel is the only one that could help preserve their beliefs and traditions..