Silence deafening about plight of Middle East Christians

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Compared with all of the talk of whether to continue to admit Muslim refugees and asylum seekers into the United States, another important aspect of the Middle East inferno is getting relatively less attention.

Christians are quite literally being exterminated in the Middle East, and I can find very little evidence that our president really cares.

Eliza Griswold of The New York Times Magazine did write about this catastrophe in July, and Perry Chiaramonte wrote about it for Fox News last month, yet what has the United States done to help?

This past spring, one thing the Obama administration had done was extradite and criminally charge some 24 Iraqi Christians, or Chaldeans, with falsifying their asylum applications. Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International, told Hollie McKay of “I’ve never seen anything like this and I’ve been doing this work for more than 20 years. Western governments should allow persecuted minority Christians asylum within their borders. This should be a priority over other asylum seekers.”

McKay goes on to say in her reporting, “Jacobson and other critics say the Obama administration has turned its back on Christians in the Middle East, whose numbers have dwindled in the face of ISIS, which forces Christians to convert, pay a special tax or face execution in the territory it controls within Iraq and Syria. A Gatestone Institute report notes that since the start of this year, more than 4,200 Muslims have been admitted into the U.S. from Iraq, but only 727 Christians – making it a ratio of around 5 to 1 – despite the fact that Christians are a heavily targeted ‘infidel’ minority.

“Iraq’s Christian population is one of the most ancient in the world, but is teetering on extinction amid Islamic extremism and government corruption – dwindling from around 1.5 million in 2003 to well below 200,000 now. Under the reign of ISIS, Christians in the region have been brutally persecuted and intentionally crucified, with their own churches reportedly used as torture chambers in which they are given the grim option of converting to Islam or being slaughtered.”

Where is the drumbeat to bring these people to the United States? Why aren’t we bringing these huddled masses to our shores? In addition, why aren’t we stepping in to help these people in their homelands? Is Obama going to willingly preside over the extermination of an entire religion in one part of the world whose roots are in the Middle East?

Please recall, ISIS did not exist before Obama. Say what you will about President George W. Bush going into Iraq in the first place, but Obama’s precipitous withdrawal from that country, ignoring his own red lines in Syria, and the support he and Hillary Clinton gave to the Arab spring, gave birth to and helped fuel the rise of ISIS, and the current, spreading madness that is overtaking the Middle East. Seems curious, doesn’t it?

If Christianity is wiped off the face of the Middle East, which some analysts say could happen within a decade, this will be on Obama’s watch, and all who align with and support his administration. Amid all the cries to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into the U.S., when ISIS has publicly stated they will use this stream to bring even more of their fighters here, there seems to be a deafening silence from Obama and others on the plight of Christians who are being persecuted into oblivion.

This Christmas season, let’s do our part to support and pray for our fellow human beings in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere who are being slaughtered for believing in a God of love, by those who believe in a God of killing.

Julie McDonald-Smith lives in North Yarmouth. She is a registered nurse, former Capitol Hill staffer, publicity chairwoman of the Cumberland County Republican Committee, and occasional guest host on WGAN 560AM. Her column appears every other week.

  • jack bauer

    Ms. McDonald-Smith brings awareness to the oft-overlooked plight of Iraqi/Syrian Christians. In fact, “plight,” is a completely inadequate word to describe the genocide they face. Ms. McDonald-Smith is correct when she cites the deafening silence from the Obama administration. Is this simply coincidental?
    As Mr. Obama enjoys his shaved ice in Hawaii, how many Christians will be beheaded today?

  • Chew H Bird

    Wow… Assigning priorities based upon religious preference is definitely not a compelling argument. How about considering that all people are equal? As much as I fully admit the media has greatly overlooked this group of people, the bottom line is that we are all humans regardless of religion.

    Secular businesses who hire people based on religion practice active discrimination. Our government is supposed to operate independently from religious choice. There are more than enough atrocities in this world, especially in the middle east, and to single out one particular group for humanitarian efforts (based on religious preference) goes against the separation of church and state. We need to treat all people equally to avoid becoming like ISIS.

    • Kafir911

      I commented on your specious argument but the editors at the Forecaster couldn’t handle the truth about the comparison between Jesus and Mohammed and didn’t publish it…despite it being factual. There is no moral equivalence between Islam and Christianity. You can research it yourself at

      • Chew H Bird

        Of course beliefs, details, and actions are different. My comment is intended to remind ourselves that our government needs to make decisions based upon humanitarian needs that are not differentiated by faith.

        • Kafir911

          I agree in a sane world. (I spent 3 years in the Peace Corps back in the early 70s). However, what once was a humanitarian effort on the part of Catholic Charities and other VOLAGs has now turned into big business by getting paid by the head to re-settle refugees. Check out the website, Refugee Resettlement Watch, or the monograph “Red-Green Axis” available in Pdf on-line.

  • Kafir911

    Excellent article. In addition, it is the 57 members of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) that puts pressure on the UNHCR to re-settle Muslims from the Middle East rather than Christians. Our State Department, the ORR and Homeland Security do their bidding at the behest of the White House.

    The backdrop to this refugee crisis, however, is the Hijra (emigration and colonization of non-Muslim lands) as ordered by Mohammed, “Indeed those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah shall expect the mercy of Allah.” -Qur’an 2:218, 8:72, 16:41 and 16:110.

    The good news is that Glenn Beck (one of those many evil conservative talk show hosts…according to Leftists) has set up the Nazarene Fund to help re-settle M.E. Christians.

  • Kevin McCarthy

    A column reeking of cynicism, dishonesty and prejudice is hardly the way to treat a worthy topic. Reason, fairness and truth are apparently irrelevant in the never-ending quest to criticize Obama – which is after all, the real purpose of this column. The implications about the treatment of the Chaldeans is abominable and flat-out wrong (they were either European citizens or had already been granted asylum in European and other countries). The innuendos (“Seems curious, doesn’t it?”) are juvenile and pathetic. The opportunity for a new column title presents itself since “The Right View” has been dropped: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”