Iraq’s Christians are facing a crisis that nobody seems to care to help with

Iraq’s Christians are begging the world for help.

Since capturing the country’s second largest city of Mosul in early June, the Islamic State has ordered Christians to convert to Islam, pay taxes levied on non-Muslims, or die. The extremist group is also persecuting and murdering Turkmen and Shabaks, both of which are Muslim religious minorities.

Human rights lawyer Nina Shea said that“They took the Christians’ houses, took the cars they were driving to leave. They took all their money. One old woman had her life savings of $40,000, and she said, ‘Can I please have 100 dollars?’, and they said no. They took wedding rings off fingers, chopping off fingers if they couldn’t get the ring off.”

“We now have 5,000 destitute, homeless people with no future,” Shea continued. “This is a crime against humanity.”

For the first time in about 2,000 years, Mosul is devoid of Christians. “This is ancient Nineveh we are talking about,” Shea said. “They took down all the crosses. They blew up the tomb of the prophet Jonah. An orthodox Cathedral has been turned into a mosque. … They are uprooting every vestige of Christianity.” University of Mosul professor Mahmoud Al ‘Asali, a Muslim, spoke out against the Islamic State’s purging of Christians and was promptly executed.

Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younnan, who heads the Syrian Catholic Church, called the crisis a “religious cleansing” in an interview. “I want to tell American Christians to stand up, wake up and no longer be a silent majority. American-elected representatives need to stand up for their principles on which the U.S. has been founded: the defense of religious freedom … and respect for human rights.”

These Christians have fled to Kurdistan, which is providing refuge. Going back to Mosul is not an option for them. The Islamic State has given their houses and businesses away. There is nothing to go back to even if the Islamic State left the area and they were allowed to go back.

Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf has taken to the House floor many times in the past week to plead for action from the U.S. and world community.

Wolf said that, “The Kurds have done a good job, but they are bearing the burden. President Obama should thank and encourage the Kurds for protecting the Christians. He also needs to provide aid, including funds for water and food.”

Many Iraq War boosters have claimed that keeping U.S. troops there would have avoided this atrocity, Shea pointed out that a million Christians left Iraq in the decade before the Islamic State’s campaign. The U.S. invasion “did not benefit the Christians at all. Back in 2007, jihadists moved into Baghdad’s Christian Dora neighborhood and did just what they are doing in Mosul now. We had 100,000 troops on the ground and we pushed them out, but the Christians never got back their property.”