For Christians in Syria and Iraq, Trump’s enthusiastic words on religious freedom must be met with action

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., has given President Trump a grand opportunity to do something he has yet to do in his first months in office: make significant progress on religious freedom for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities around the world. With the recent passage of the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act (HR 390) by the House of Representatives, the President is well-positioned to make a bold move to stabilize the region.

If passed by the Senate, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act will provide relief to those victimized by the ongoing genocide, human rights violations and war crimes by terrorist groups. But it is perhaps the secondary effects of this bill that will lead to the most powerful and lasting impact.

HR 390 allows the U.S. to assist in the reestablishment of Christian, Yazidi and other minority communities in the Middle East, which are central to the survival of a pluralistic and open society—a giant slap in the face to the stated goal of ISIS to drive out all those who do not embrace their savage ideology. It also gives hundreds of thousands of refugees the opportunity to return to their homes instead of seeking refugee status in the West or risking dangerous journeys to enter Europe in desperation. And to be sure, as we often witness firsthand at Open Doors through our work on the ground in Iraq and Syria, many Christians wish to remain in their homeland and would do so if they had not lost hope after years without resources, as the world turns a blind eye to their plight… read more

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