Turlock Assyrians Rally to Support Christians in Iraq

Written by Brandon McMillan
Brandon McMillan/TurlockCityNews.com
A group of Turlockers held a demonstration in front of City Hall and throughout the streets of downtown Turlock on Friday afternoon to bring attention and support those affected by unrest in Iraq.

Many gathered outside of City Hall to raise awareness of the many Christians who are currently terrorized by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

ISIS, a jihadist group that was formerly a part of the al-Qaeda in Iraq, has been gaining military control in many parts of Iraq.

The demonstrators, who stood nearly 100 united, marched from City Hall through downtown Turlock along Main Street, Golden State Boulevard, and Olive Avenue before returning to City Hall to end in prayer.

The peaceful demonstrators, made up of mostly Assyrians, wanted to show their support for those being affected by ISIS’s rise to power.

“We are not politicians, but we are people,” said Elisha Aghassi, pastor of the Blessed Hope Assyrian Ministry at the Harvest Christian Center in Turlock. “We want to show them (the Christian minority in Iraq) that we are here for them, that we are their voice.”
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The demonstrators said that the United States and other countries in the West have an “obligation to act.”

55 members of Congress sent a letter to the Obama Administration on Thursday calling the administration to do more to help protect the religious minority in Iraq.

Part of the letter read, “Absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness the annihilation of an ancient faith community from the lands they’ve inhabited for centuries.”