Relaymedia

Christian Iraqi Leader: US Has 'Moral Obligation' to Rescue Religious Minorities from 'Genocide'

( [email protected] ) Aug 26, 2014 06:13 PM EDT
Mark Arabo, a Christian leader in the Iraqi community in Eastern San Diego, is urging the United States government to rescue Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities facing persecution at the hands of ISIS.
Mark Arabo, a Christian leader among the Iraqi community of San Diego. (Susan Murphy/KPBS

A Christian leader in the Iraqi community in eastern San Diego County is once again urging the government to  rescue Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities facing horrific persecution at the hands of Islamic extremists.

Mark Arabo, who earlier petitioned the White House to take military action against ISIS, is now working to persuade Obama and the United Nations to authorize an airlift to rescue tens of thousands of Christians and others.

"Our nation is one specially positioned to be viewed as a failure for foreign inaction, and "imperialist" for our willingness to act. I tend to view our foreign role as a nation of great power, blessed with a moral obligation to enact change on a global scale," Arabo said in a statement.  

According to the LA Times, Arabo has been in contact with White House officials, including Rumana Ahmed, who is part of a White House effort to reach out to American Arabs and Muslims.

He is also collaborating with Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) to make a legislation calling for a rescue and to lift the immigration quotas from the Middle East.

Arabo, 31, a Chaldean Christian born in the U.S., has sent the White House names of several thousand Iraqi Christians trapped and several hundred Americans willing to act as immigration sponsors.

"I want to give voices to the voiceless, names to the nameless,"  said Arabo, executive of the El Cajon-based Neighborhood Market Assn.

"We need executive action. All necessary measures must be considered and implemented that would help assist minorities affected by the onslaught of ISIS. Additionally, steps need to be taken to restrict the movement of ISIS forces. Quickly, we see the hostilities of ISIS becoming a regional threat, and without the influence of the U.S., ISIS will be our threat."

This week, he will travel to Detroit to gather more names and encourage political support for an airlift to the U.S. and Europe. Detroit and eastern San Diego County are the two largest Iraqi immigrant communities in the United States.

"My fear is that if we don't do something now, someday I'll be going to New York to dedicate a memorial museum with all the names," he said.

To join the fight in protecting religious minorities from persecution in the Middle East, visit minorityhf.org.