The Islamic State has managed to destroy two thousand years of Christian civilization in the Middle East in just a couple of years, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters noted on The O’Reilly Factor last week. And he placed the blame squarely on President Obama’s cowardly, feckless, incompetent foreign policy.
ISIS has been spreading across the Middle East like a plague of locusts, and as they have spread, they have targeted religious minorities, particularly Christians, for destruction. In Syria, tens of thousands of Assyrian Christians have been attacked and displaced.
They are the forgotten refugees.
A Catholic priest who visited Kurdish Iraq last fall described the wounded souls of the Christians who had taken refuge there. They had been forced from their homes in northern Iraq in the summer of 2014.
“Without question, we are talking about genocide here. Genocide is not only when the people are killed, but also when the soul of a people is destroyed. And that is what is happening in Iraq now,” Fr. Andrzej Halemba, head of Aid to the Church in Need’s Middle East section, said Oct. 28. “It is the most tragic thing that I have ever experienced.”
“I have seen people who have been deeply wounded in their soul. In the various crises in this world I have often seen people who have lost everything. But in Iraq there are Christians who have had to leave everything and take flight three or four times. They can see no light at the end of the tunnel.”
Last spring, hundreds of Assyrian Christians fled to Lebanon after ISIS jihadists stormed their villages in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakeh.
Members of Lebanon’s Assyrian community did their best to welcome the new refugees, but the displacement had left them traumatized.
The group has seized at least 11 of the 33 Assyrian villages in the region, and kidnapped more than 200 members of the ancient Christian sect, which numbered around 30,000 in Syria before the war …
“The villages of Khabur are empty now, there is no one left except some fighters,” lamented Chorbishop Yatron Koliana, as he oversaw the distribution at his diocese.
“Our people have experienced a great tragedy in Syria,” he added with a sigh, saying that many of the new arrivals were traumatized. “They are depressed. Some of them have chronic illnesses. Their lives are difficult.”
“How can we be comfortable, living on aid?” asked 50-year-old Simaan, who fled his village Tal Hormuz.
He railed against what he called international indifference to the plight of Assyrians under attack by ISIS in Syria and neighboring Iraq.
“The whole world, from the UN to the United States and Russia, is responsible,” he said angrily. “They (ISIS) have destroyed our whole civilization…and the world is watching.”
In July, 4,000 more Assyrian Christian families were among the 120,000 people who fled Hasakeh to escape ISIS forces who had entered the city looking to carry out a mass ethno-religious slaughter.
Fleeing Muslim persecution, Christian refugees are often targeted and persecuted anew by fleeing Muslim refugees.
An egregious example from last April: 12 Christian refuges lost their lives during a particularly harrowing trip — not due to their boat capsizing, but through Islamic violence.
The International Business Times reported:
Italian police have arrested 15 Muslim immigrants in Palermo, for allegedly having thrown Christian refugees off the rubber boat that was taking them to Italy after a fight for “religious reasons”, according to media reports.
Those arrested – from Mali, Guinea and Ivory Coast – were part of a group of 100 that were rescued off the Libyan coast by the Italian coastguard.
The archbishop of Canterbury recently warned British Prime Minister David Cameron that his government’s refugee policy was discriminating against Christians because Christians are not among the refugees being helped in UN camps. They’re not in the UN camps because they fear persecution from radicalized Muslim refugees.
The Most Revd Justin Welby reportedly met the prime minister earlier this month with concerns that Christians in Syria will be largely excluded from the 20,000 refugees due to come to the UK over the next five years.
The Government, in line with European Union policy, is committed to taking in refugees from UN camps in Syria and neighbouring countries. It cannot discriminate in favour of any one religious group.
But the Archbishop has raised concerns that Christians have avoided refugee camps because of fears of persecution from rogue Islamist groups operating inside refugee camps.
In a speech in the House of Lords last Monday, Archbishop Welby said that “within the camps there is significant intimidation and radicalisation, and many particularly of the Christian population who have been forced to flee are unable to be in the camps.”
He went on: “ What is the Government’s policy of reaching out to those who are not actually in the camps?”
He then raised the issue with Mr Cameron in a private meeting. A source said: “Justin Welby spoke to David Cameron about this. he raised his concerns.”
The Archbishop’s intervention follows concern raised by his predecessor Lord Carey, who wrote in the Telegraph of his concern over the plight of Christians.
Lord Carey wrote: “The frustration for those of us who have been calling for compassion for Syrian victims for many months is that the Christian community is yet again left at the bottom of the heap.
“Mr Cameron’s policy inadvertently discriminates against the very Christian communities most victimised by the inhuman butchers of the so-called Islamic State.
“Christians are not to be found in the UN camps, because they have been attacked and targeted by Islamists and driven from them. They are seeking refuge in private homes, church buildings and with neighbours and family.”
Refugees who want to come to the United States will also be required to apply through the United Nations.
“A combination of European cowardice and awful American foreign policy has led to a mass Muslim migration that will affect the whole world,” Bill O’Reilly stated on The O’Reilly Factor last week.
Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (Ret.) disagreed somewhat with that assessment.
“I think you were much, much too soft on President Obama and a bit too hard on the EU,” Peters began. “If America doesn’t lead, it doesn’t happen.”
Peters went on to issue a scathing indictment of Obama’s numerous foreign policy failures, and put the blame for the refugee crisis squarely on his shoulders.
“Just look at a map of the Middle East … on George W. Bush’s last day in office. There is broad peace across the Middle East and North Africa, Iraq was finally convalescing, and as you pointed out — Obama promptly, to please his America-hating base, abandons Iraq, backs the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, gets rid of Gaddafi without a plan for what goes after, threatens Assad…then does nothing, doesn’t listen to the intelligence community when for years they’re telling him about Islamic State coming — then tries to blame the intelligence community, [and] launches feckless airstrikes. The combination of his fecklessness and cowardice, his rhetorical bravado, and utter incompetence are responsible.”
He added that “the spectacle you’re seeing –those refugees – hundreds of thousands of refugees, those millions in the camps — they’re Obama’s refugees. The hundreds of thousands of dead — in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere — they’re Obama’s dead.”
“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” O’Reilly interjected.
“No! Listen to this. Two thousand years of Christian civilization destroyed on his watch!” Peters exclaimed. “That’s on Obama. When America doesn’t lead, nothing happens.”