Iraqi Christian Bashar Warda is the Catholic archbishop of Erbil, and he is begging President Donald Trump for help.
Warda says he is overwhelmed with the devastation after warring with the Islamic State, and doesn’t know how his country is going to ever recover.
“We need more than words, it’s time for action,” he said.
Warda went on to talk about the utter destruction seen throughout Iraq, and estimated that at least $262 million is needed to repair homes, fix roads and bridges, and restore water and electricity to the province of Nineveh.
With roughly 14,000 homes of Christian families throughout the Nineveh province nearly ruined because of fighting with ISIS militants, the region is in crisis.
According to Yahoo News, Warda stated, “The Iraqi government had said…that we don’t have money.”
Warda is now looking at President Trump, asking the United States and the White House for compassion.
He has pleaded directly to President Trump, stating, “We need your help now, not tomorrow, not to think about it, not to consult your adviser”. It is unclear what the White House can actually do to help the Christian leader rebuild his destroyed province.
Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech over a month ago where he claimed, “Christians and persecuted peoples of the Middle East have not been getting the relief they need.” He talked about the desperate times for Christians and promised to make changes.
According to Warda, no aid has reached his community yet, and his people are getting more and more desperate as time goes on.
This delay of aid is only making the terrible conditions in the Middle East worse.
ISIS took control of Nineveh, but not before 100,000 or more Iraqi Christians were able to escape the area. These Christians were able to find safety in the north of the town, hiding among the Kurds in the area.
Unfortunately, it’s not expected to be safe for the Iraqi Christians, particularly in Kurdistan. Iran is having a stronger influence in the area, and that’s bad news for non-Muslims living in there.
Retired United States Lieutenant General Jay Garner is worried about the safety of Christians in the area.
“I think they are in danger unless we prevent the Iranians from controlling the Kurdish north,” he stated. “If we step in and support the Kurds, then we protect them and the Christians will remain there.”
He further discussed what would happen if the United States didn’t step in and help. General Garner believes that if the US doesn’t provide aid, the Kurds will have to become Iranian proxies. If this is allowed to occur, Christians hiding in the area are going to have to find a new place to take shelter.
While Iraq used to be a heavily Christian country, with over 1.5 million Christians, war has made the country an unsafe place for Christians to exist because of ISIS terrorism.
Many of those Christians have fled to nearby countries, including Lebanon and other areas throughout Europe. Some Iraqi Christians have been able to flee to the United States — where they can practice their religious freedom.
There are an estimated 200,000 Christians still in Iraq, but it’s not safe for them to be living in a country torn by war.
In an effort to bypass the United Nations and get help to persecuted Iraqi Christians faster, Vice President Pence and President Trump stated that they are going to send aid through USAID and other faith-based partners. Both the President and the Vice President remain committed to helping those areas in the Middle East ravaged by ISIS and they stated that current United Nations programs are ineffective.
In his speech at the annual summit of In Defense of Christians in Washington, D.C., Pence stated, “The United States will work hand in hand from this day forward with faith-based groups and private organizations to help those who are persecuted for their faith. This is the moment, now is the time, and America will support these people in their hour of need.”
Hopefully, the White House can provide leaders like Warda and others like him with the support they need to keep their communities safe from remaining extremism.
~ 1776 Christian