It's called The Nineveh Plain. It is a cradle of our faith and for two thousand years Christians have lived, and sometimes flourished in this area, keeping the faith strong and vibrant. When the terrorists of the Islamic State invaded the Nineveh Plain they set about destroying every semblance of Christian life and faith. Churches were desecrated. Villages and homes pillaged, the people driven out to relative safety in refugee camps.
ISIS wanted nothing more than to wipe any trace of Christianity from the Nineveh Plain...to create a world where no trace of our Lord remained, as if He had never walked that rocky, sandy soil.
Fortunately, for the world, for our Faith, and for the Christians of the Nineveh Plain, a coalition of Iraqi, Kurdish, U.N. and U.S. troops have engaged in a long and bloody war that has destroyed the Islamic State and is, slowly, liberating the towns and villages of Iraq...of the Nineveh Plain. Christians are beginning to return to their homeland, beginning the arduous task of rebuilding their homes and villages, their churches and their lives.
A happy ending? Not entirely. First, one must try to understand the level of hatred and devastation ISIS inflicted on the Christian villages and religious sites. Homes were not only ravaged and all personal property destroyed, anti-Christian slogans were painted on the walls. Local businesses fared no better. Inventory was destroyed, signage wrecked, storefronts defaced. But the Islamic Terrorists saved their most vicious attacks for the churches.
It was not enough for the heathens of ISIS to try to burn churches, to destroy priceless religious art and artifacts, to demolish sacred vessels. Burn the pews and paints slogans on the walls? Of course they did. But to understand the depth of their destruction and depravity, understand that the ISIS military used crucifixes for target practice.
It can break your heart. But it didn't break the hearts, or the spirits, of the brave Iraqi Christians of the Nineveh Plain. They are returning home, they are picking up the pieces and rebuilding their lives. They are, once again, proving the strength of the Christian faith in the Middle East. Who is helping them? Well, SPC -- Solidarity with the Persecuted Church is doing what we can, with your generous help. Our team of architects, planners and construction experts will soon be on the ground, helping to rebuild homes and churches.
Who isn't helping? Well, the United States' Government, most especially the State Department. At least not as much as our President wants. President Trump has promised to do everything in his power to defend and protect "historic Christian communities of the Middle East". The United States' Congress has allocated more than $1.4 billion in funds for refugee assistance and included specific language to ensure that part of the money would be used to assist Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims--all groups the State Department deemed victims of genocide in 2016.
But the State Department has not allocated any funds specifically to help Christians return to their homes and villages in the Nineveh Plain and to begin to recover from the terror of ISIS' ethnic cleansing. Christian population in the Nineveh Plain has fallen from over1,000,000 to a mere 250,000. And as they return to their homes and villages they are faced with new threats of persecution.
If the U.S. fails to act, we could see the extinction of Christianity in one of its ancient homelands. Our nation has been the golden beacon for faith and hope, for religious freedom and liberty. We are pledged to support and defend religious liberty.
"Nowhere has our commitment to religious freedom been so important. Nowhere has it been so tested. Failure to aid and protect the Christians of the Nineveh Plain would be betrayal of our nation's very founding principles", said Frank Petsche, Operations Director of Solidarity with the Persecuted Church. "SPC will work tirelessly to see that Congress, the Administration and most particularly the State Department fulfill their moral obligation to help the Christians of the Nineveh Plain."
"The Christians of the Nineveh Plain need, and deserve our help. Call or write your Congressman and Senator. Demand answers. If we fail the Christians of the Nineveh Plain, we, as a nation, fail ourselves."