WASHINGTON -- After viewing the video that was released April 19, showing the murder of two groups of Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State terrorists, Jewish and Christian human rights groups have issued a joint statement calling on President Obama to intervene with force to stop the ongoing extermination of Christians in the Middle East.
In a gruesome repeat of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in February, masked IS militants marched 15 Ethiopian Christians along Libya's shore of the Mediterranean Sea and beheaded them. Another group of 15 was shot in another murderous act in an area of Libyan shrubland.
Open Doors USA, a global advocacy group for the persecuted, was joined by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization, in condemning the killings and calling for the United States to intervene.
In a joint statement, the groups claimed to have alerted Western governments for months "that a religious genocide of Christians was taking place" with little response, and took particular aim at President Obama for his lack of action.
"While we welcome the White House acknowledgement that these victims were targeted because of their faith, much more needs to be done," wrote David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, along with colleague Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, who serves with him as director of interfaith issues.
They chided the president to fully acknowledge the "religious extremism" and "theologically fueled hatred" that is at the heart of Islamic State terrorism. Likewise, they called on him to lead NATO to "forge an action plan" to protect Christians in the Middle East.
"We must not stand idly by and watch as thousands of Christians are murdered for their faith," they said.
Calling the Islamic persecution of Christians a type of "Nazi ideology" that unabated "will continue to infect the hearts and minds of the ever-growing number of youth around the world," they said, "The time to act is now."
CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHRISTIANS
Jordan's King Abdullah was outraged in February after learning that ISIS had burned alive a captured and caged Jordanian air force pilot. Almost immediately, he initiated jet attacks against the radicals in Syria.
Also in February, warplanes from Egypt and Libya struck al-Qaeda-linked targets in Libya after ISIS jihadists beheaded the 21 Egyptian citizens.
But there has not been a similar kind of outrage about the killing and abduction of Christians and other minorities in the region and elsewhere.
In 2003 an estimated 1.5 million Assyrian Christians lived in Iraq, but by the end of 2013 that numbered had dwindled to fewer than 500,000. With the invasion by the Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State, the population has thinned to about 3,000 today.
The lack of protection from murders, kidnappings and destruction of property has been so severe, that Christians from different parts of the world have come together with others from the Middle East to form a 4,000-strong militia to try to protect what remains of the community on the Nineveh Plains, according to National Geographic.
Meanwhile in Nigeria, Boko Haram Islamic terrorists killed 2,000 people in January, targeting mostly Christians, and burned multiple churches, Amnesty International reported.
ISIS radicals kidnapped 300 Syrian Christians in March and, in early April, Islamist militants with al-Shabab killed 150 Christian university students in Kenya.
WHAT SHOULD CHRISTIANS DO?
Curry, in statements today, said the American church needs to pray for the safety and freedom of Christian brothers and sisters in these dangerous areas but also should "wake up" and "make some noise" about what is happening.
"The politicians don't care, because we haven't been heard on this subject," he said in an article released on OpenDoorsUSA.org. "I think we need to let people know we care that Christians around the world are being executed. These are just the ones that we know about."