USA (MNN) — Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives quietly passed the bipartisan Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act (HR 390) in a voice vote.
Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry explains what the bill would do: “It identifies a way for the people of the United States to support the victims of ISIS. A year ago, when the United States declared that there was genocide against Christians and Yazidis, we’ve been waiting to see what sort of ways that we could see our country step forward and help people who’d been attacked and traumatized in this sort of situation.”
Spearheaded by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Rep. Anna Eschoo, D-Calif., Curry says this is exactly the kind of action the United States government needs to be taking in response to the situation.
HR 390 promotes accountability for atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and addresses the urgent humanitarian needs of persecuted religious and ethnic minorities targeted for genocide.
Curry says, “What people don’t understand is the aid to these folks who have been attacked has dried up. They’re not getting the help they need. This is going to solve so many things. It’s going to step up and help us resolve ‘how are we going to keep these historically indigenous communities in the Middle East if no one is helping them rebuild their lives?’”
The next step is the Senate. However, “We don’t know where it’s going to stand,” he admits. “With so many other things going on, I do fear that it’s going to be forgotten, so we really need to let our voices be heard. What we can see is the Senate address what’s been done in the Middle East to the Christians and Yazidis, and stand up and help them.”
In this excerpt from his prepared statement, Curry said:
“We now urge the Senate to expedite the bill at this critical time to ensure a strong and positive impact for victims of extreme persecution in Iraq and Syria. With the protracted dire situation on the ground, particularly in Erbil, the Senate must move the bill quickly so President Trump can sign it and implementation can begin.”
Open Doors is on the ground in the Middle East and North Africa, supporting Christians who have been terrorized and displaced by ISIS. They are advocating through their One Million Voices of Hope for the Middle East campaign, asking all Americans to sign on in support of this call to action.
The reason, he says, is that the preservation of Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Kakai, Shabak, Shi’a Muslims, and other communities are crucial to long-term stability in the region. “These folks, some of them have been living in transitional refugee camps for years now. They desperately want to go back. We’re not talking about people who were traditionally homeless; these were dentists, lawyers, and taxi drivers — people who were paying their bills, but then ISIS came in and said, ‘If you’re a Christian, you’ve got to leave.’”
Moreover, the Christians who have remained have been witness to some amazing stories of Christ coming to people through dreams and visions. Believers have remained behind to mentor new followers of Christ, at great personal risk.
By signing this petition, Curry says you are standing alongside these fellow Christians, using your voice and influence to speak for those who have no voice.
“We’re encouraging people to sign our ‘Hope for the Middle East’ petition, which really talks about how we’re going to help resettle in the Middle East. That’s on our website: https://www.opendoorsusa.org. We’re hoping for one million voices to stand up and make a call to action to help Christian communities in the Middle East that have been attacked.”