Op-ed

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Christians face genocide in Iraq and Syria

by Candice Malcom

Toronto Sun
April 6, 2016 

Christians are being targeted, persecuted and attacked in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iraq.

Despite the mad rush by Western leaders like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sponsor Syrian refugees, the region’s ethnic and religious minorities are being overlooked and left behind.

A recent report by Geoffrey Johnston of the Kingston-Whig Standard provides a detailed account of the treacherous ordeal facing Syrian and Iraqi Christians.

Daesh (Islamic State) is deliberately targeting and murdering ancient Christian communities.

It’s trying to wipe out the Christian population in the region, committing genocide.

Christians are desperately fleeing, but often have little support and nowhere to go.

First hand accounts report how Christian refugees avoid the United Nations refugee camps out of fear of intimidation, including discrimination from UN officials and abuse from other refugees.

Many Christians don’t even bother registering with the UN.

The UN denies it, but the numbers suggest a different story.

Out of the millions of Syrian refugees registered with the UN in neighbouring Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan, only about 1% are Christians.

But according to the CIA World Factbook, in 2015 Christians made up more than 10% of Syria’s population.

In a typical war zone, you’d expect refugee camps to be filled with persecuted religious minorities.

And yet, only 1% of those seeking shelter with the UN are Christian.

According to a British non-profit organization that works with refugees, Christians are scared away by “the strict Muslim environment dominating the camps.”

They are bullied for not wearing Muslim clothing, harassed for the way they pray and intimidated by those trying to convert them or force them to abide by a strict interpretation of Islam.

According to critics, the UN camps have been taken over not only by Muslims extremists, but Daesh agents.

According to a Lebanese cabinet minister, about 2% of the 1.1 million refugees registered in Lebanon are jihadists in disguise.

Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has recognized these uncomfortable facts.

And yet the West is doing virtually nothing to stop it.

Without a deliberate attempt to protect and rescue the diminishing number of Christians in the region, there will be no Christians left.

If we continue to do nothing, these populations will disappear.

The Canadian government used to make a concerted effort to seek out the most vulnerable people and provide assistance through our refugee resettlement program.

We used to try to help those most in need and those left behind.

Things changed, however, when Trudeau was elected.

On the campaign trail, Trudeau was asked if he would continue to prioritize refugees from persecuted ethnic and religious minority communities.

He accused Stephen Harper of picking and choosing refugee applicants for political gain, called it “disgusting” and said, “absolutely not”.

But while the Trudeau government has resettled tens of thousands of Syrian refugees referred by the UN, this does little to protect religious minorities in the region.

Canada is a signatory to the 1948 prevention of genocide convention.

We are legally and morally required to do what we can to stop the mass slaughter of Christians.

But will we? Or will Trudeau’s partisanship — his knee-jerk reaction to do the opposite of whatever Harper did — prevent him, and us, from helping those most in need?

Malcolm, a best-selling author, has a new book coming out critical of Trudeau’s immigration and security policies. You can sign up for a free e-copy by visiting: LosingTrueNorth.ca

Photo Credit: ICEJ

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