Letter: America should assist Christians fleeing Iraq

America should assist Christians fleeing Iraq
Since the 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein’s despotic regime, roughly 1 million Iraqi Christians have evacuated their ancient homeland due to political instability and rife anti-Christian discrimination. Among Iraq’s shrinking minority groups, the Chaldeans, one of the Middle East’s oldest Christian communities, now face violent persecution by Islamic State fighters who have demonstrated with unflinching brutality their desire to eliminate those who do not champion their radical brand of religious ideology.

As the encroaching threat of extremism becomes a stark reality for Iraqi civilians, Chaldeans are thus confronted with an especially urgent decision: either they disregard the opinions of their religious leaders, who firmly discourage emigration, and seek refuge in stable nations, or, they stay put and combat ISIS forces alongside other Iraqi-Syrian minority coalitions. Countless others, however, without the means to flee abroad, face indefinite displacement.

It is vitally important that Americans accommodate the continued emigration of Chaldeans and other Iraqi ethnic minorities. The role of Americans in making this transition as seamless as possible requires a collective attitude of understanding and cultural competency. Principal spokesman for the Chaldean-American community, Mark Arabo, is currently collaborating with humanitarian agencies to help Chaldeans stranded in Iraq and warns that if religious minorities become locked in the ISIS stranglehold, genocide is inevitable.

With 250,000 refugees already settled largely around Detroit and San Diego, Americans must continue to welcome the Chaldeans with unmitigated tolerance and seek ways to prevent the rise of domestic suspicion and racism that will disrupt this community’s efforts to find long-awaited peace and security.

Sebastian Charles Galbo
http://www.buffalonews.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/letter-america-should-assist-christians-fleeing-iraq-20141009

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KSWB – San Diego, CA