Iraqi Archbishop: ‘We Pray That President Trump Will Help Us. Without Help We Are Finished’

Lauretta Brown | December 22, 2016 | 12:10pm EST
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Syrian and Iraqi Christians have fled ISIS and ended up in Lebanon, among other locations. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

( – The Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul, Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf told Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) this week that without President-elect Donald Trump’s help, Christian families who have escaped ISIS in the Erbil area of the Kurdistan region “are finished.”

Smith traveled to Iraq this week to meet with the families and Christian leaders.

Sharaf, who was the very last bishop to flee ISIS in Mosul in June 2014, told Smith, “So often concern for Christians is minimized. I am so happy, because you are the first American who has come to just ask about the Christians. We pray that President Trump will help us. We are the last people to speak the Aramaic language. Without help, we are finished.”  

“This Christmas season, the survival of Christians in Iraq, where they have lived for almost 2,000 years, is at stake,” Smith, who is chair of the House panel on global human rights and international organizations, commented on Monday.

“Today I met with Christian families who survived the ISIS genocide and have been ignored for two years by the Obama Administration. I hope that President-Elect Trump will act urgently to make sure his Administration helps these Christians with the funds Congress has approved for survivors of ISIS atrocities,” he said.

Smith said that he will be “working tirelessly” when Congress reconvenes to get his Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act on President-elect Donald Trump’s desk.

The bill would support organizations that serve genocide survivors in Iraq, aid entities conducting criminal investigation into perpetrators of the genocide, and create a “Priority Two” (“P-2”) designation in refugee determinations for persecuted religious and ethnic groups in Iraq or Syria.

Smith called the legislation “a blueprint for how to assist Christians and other genocide survivors and hold perpetrators accountable.”

In the past year, Smith called the low number of Syrian Christian refugees admitted to the U.S. “unconscionable.” That number is now 101 Christians, which is 0.71 percent of the total number of Syrian refugees admitted as of December 2016.

Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson testified in May that Middle East Christians “often must avoid official refugee camps because they are targeted for violence there by extremists. As a result, these minorities often do not get ‘official’ aid. This will continue to be the reality unless specific action is taken to bring the aid to where these minorities are forced to reside by continuing violence.”

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