Iraqi Christians Hold Out Hope on U.S.-Promised Aid

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Christian church in Iraq (Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)
By Solange Reyner
Iraqi Christians are hopeful of Vice President Mike Pence’s promise to fast-track millions of dollars in aid to their plight, but their numbers are dwindling quickly and rebuilding efforts are slow and uneven, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

Under pressure from Pence, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Saturday announced it would fast-track millions of dollars to help Christians and Yazidis in Iraq who have been victims to ISIS violence.

Ten million dollars will be given to two umbrella groups, including one overseen by Catholic Relief Services, and another $25 million will go toward assisting “persecuted communities” in Iraq. In total, the U.S. will provide more than $100 million to the two religious minorities in the current fiscal year.

“We have a proverb,” Athra Kado, who leads Alqosh’s branch of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, told the Washington Free Beacon. “I will not believe it unless I see it with my own eyes.”

More than 125,000 of Iraq’s Christians were forced to flee their homeland because of ISIS violence and threats starting in 2014, and only recently did some families return to rebuild the community.

“A lot of hope is in their hearts and minds,” said Juliana Taimoorazy, president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, of residents in Bakhdida.

“(But) providing food or building houses only goes so far because,” she adds, “first and foremost, what is on their minds is security.”

USAID said its aim was to circumvent the red-tape.

“I will assure [Christian and Yazidi leaders] that American assistance will soon turn from an inconsistent trickle into a steady stream,” USAID administrator Mark Green wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “I will present President Trump with a comprehensive assessment of any roadblocks that prevented the speedy distribution of aid.”

Read Newsmax: USAID Admin: Assistance to Iraqi Christians on Fast Track |
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