Church Worldwide: Activists Say West Is Ignoring Genocide of Middle East Religious Minorities

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Nearly six months after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared the murder of Christians in the Middle East a “genocide,” Westerners are doing little to stop the killings, said activists gathered for a convention on the victims’ plight.

Religious freedom advocate Katrina Lantos Swett called the crisis “perhaps the great moral challenge of our time right now,” at a news conference on September 7, opening the national convention for In Defense of Christians, an advocacy group.

“I am baffled and heartbroken, as the daughter of Holocaust survivors, at how it is possible for the West to seem so, so blind, willfully blind, or even worse, aware but relatively disinterested in what is unfolding in our time, on our watch, in our purview of being able to act,” said Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

Activists are urging the U.S. Congress to take decisive steps to protect the lives and culture of groups such as Assyrian and Coptic Christians, and non-Christians such as the Yazidis.

Rep. Dave Trott, R-Mich., announced plans during the news conference to introduce legislation to support restoration of Coptic Christian churches destroyed by Egyptian looters in religious violence in 2013.

Andrew Doran, cofounder of In Defense of Christians, said his group and other advocates will be working together to seek congressional action on ending the conflict in Syria, which he said is breeding terrorism in that region and beyond it.

“It’s not coming, it’s here—it’s in our churches, it’s in our nightclubs, and it’s in our public spaces, and it will get much worse before it gets better,” he said. “If we move swiftly to end the conflict in Syria, we can save lives there now and save American lives and other lives elsewhere in the decades to come.”

About the Authors

Adelle Banks, Religion News Service

Religion News Service is an independent, nonprofit and award-winning source of global news on religion, spirituality, culture and ethics.

See comments (2)


Indeed, the CRC's own "justice arm" advocates far more for the middle east  Muslims that are victims of injustice (and there are such) than middle east Christians who are arguably subjected to a greater degree of injustice, not to mention religious genocidal strategies. Why?


I find your posts are often negative and divisive.  Why not encourage the CRC's Office of Social Justice to include persecuted Christians as one of their issues that they advocate for.  Or if you feel strongly about it, see if you can join them and get involved by helping them advocate for persecuted Christians (or join Voice of The Martyrs -- a great organization that has been doin this for years...)?


P.S. With all these churches sponsoring refugees these days, one question that came to my mind was: should we or shouldn't we prioritize Christian refugees over others? Then I read this blog post which shows that that question is more complicated than it seems at first....

Syria's Christian Refugees: Four Wrong Assumptions  --  by Miles Windsor