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Help for Religious Minorities in Iraq Remains Urgent

The horrific persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq continues. Tens of thousands have been forced from their homes by the merciless Islamic State in northern Iraq. Untold numbers of Christian and Yazidi women have been enslaved or raped, men simply killed. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a Christmas Eve message urging Christians to stay, but there are few places in Iraq where they are safe. On Christmas, the churches of Baghdad were said to be largely empty.

The response by the Obama administration and Congress has not been passive; airstrikes by coalition forces have been effective at slowing the ISIS campaign.

But it was only last week that Congress passed and Obama signed legislation funding the president's plan to fight the Islamic State and reclaim the vast territory claimed by ISIS. The first of 1,500 troops to be sent to help train Iraqi forces are just now getting under way.

Mark Arabo of San Diego, a leader of Iraqis in the United States, has made numerous trips to Washington, D.C., in recent months seeking help in relocating Iraqis displaced by ISIS, so far without success. In a Christmas Eve email to U-T San Diego, he vowed to continue the effort. We wish him well. And we urge Congress to make such assistance a top priority when it reconvenes in January.

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