The Middle East is locked in a civil war between hostile Islamic factions that are fighting for control of the entire region. Christians and other non-Muslim minorities are caught in the crossfire, targeted because of their religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds, and have been killed or forced from their homes in record numbers. These minorities are not strangers to the Middle East; they are in fact the indigenous people of the region who have lived in Mesopotamia for centuries and even millennia.
These minorities have lost everything: homes, businesses, careers, human dignity, and hope for a secure future in the land of their birth. Today they live in tents and trailers. Every day hundreds of them flee the country to seek refuge abroad. Ancient communities, cultures, and languages are dying before our eyes. More importantly, families are being torn apart with little hope of reuniting.
Many good-hearted Christians in the West believe that the best way to help these Iraqi Christians is to evacuate them abroad. We disagree. Despite the obvious challenges, we believe that the best long-term solution is to secure their future inside their ancient homeland. The repeated plea of these minorities is to return home and to put an end to their current condition as refugees.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, call upon the United States government to facilitate the emergency creation of a new Iraqi province in the Nineveh Plain for the protection and settlement of Assyrian Christians and other indigenous minorities. This province will be defended by local forces backed by international security teams, and will be governed by local leaders democratically elected by the people of the province. Residents will be free to cultivate their unique religious and ethnic identities, and will enjoy the stability they need to rebuild their lives.
Although the persecution of Christians and other minorities seems overwhelming to most Americans, we as Christians are commanded to help “the least of these" and cannot remain silent in the face of their suffering.
By creating a safe haven for Iraq's most vulnerable communities, the United States and its international partners can ensure that these communities will survive and flourish in their historic homeland. The Nineveh Plain Province, once created, will provide a model of freedom, coexistence, and rule of law for the entire region.
Petition to Create a Safe Haven for Minorities in Iraq
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