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ISIS Names Christians as No. 1 Enemy as Persecution Escalates in Middle East

( [email protected] ) Oct 15, 2014 12:19 PM EDT

The Islamic State terrorist group recently declared Christians to be their greatest enemy in an updated version of its propaganda booklet, "Dabiq" as persecution of believers escalates in the Middle East.

According to Arutz Sheva, the cover photo on the booklet is a photoshopped picture of the Vatican bearing the ISIS flag. Within the literature, the terror group reveals their desires to conquer Rome, defeat Christianity, and "break the cross."

A little more than a decade ago, 1.6 million Christians resided in the Iraq. Mosul, the nation's second-largest city was home to 60,000 Christians who practiced their religion in the midst of their Muslim neighbors.

However, over the past several months, ISIS has executed innumerable Christians throughout Iraq and Syria or forced them to flee the country in an attempt to establish a caliphate, or Islamic State, in the Middle East. There are no longer any Christians living in Mosul for the first time in 2,000 years, and the 100,000 remaining in the capital city of Baghdad live in constant fear for their lives as ISIS draws closer.

A joint conference between the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and the World Jewish Congress in Jerusalem was held earlier this week to discuss the sobering situation for Christians.

"Across the Middle East, in the last 10 years, 100,000 Christians have been murdered each year. That means every five minutes a Christian is killed because of his faith," Father Gabriel Nadaf, who has campaigned for Christian Arab rights and for local Christians to support Israel, told the United Nations Human Rights Council in September. "Those who can escape persecution at the hands of Muslim extremists have fled. ... Those who remain, exist as second if not third-class citizens to their Muslim rulers."

Experts also fear the the U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS are not strong enough to curb the carnage in the Middle East, and are urging Western powers to do more to protect Christians and other minorities.

"The US airstrikes can only do so much. They can hold back the threat, but, frankly, air strikes are not enough," the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ron Lauder, told press conference at Jerusalem's new Pais Arena. He also stated that the current situation is "a testimony to the unwillingness of others to stand up" for those under threat.

Dr. Jürgen Bühler, director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), agreed that much more needed to be done to protect Christians, Yazidis and other minorities from the spreading Islamic scourge.

"As a German, I want to say that when Germany was under the oppression of the Nazi regime, it was the very sacrificial military intervention of mainly the United States that saved Europe from becoming a very different place than it is today," Bühler noted. "The world needs to similarly respond to the situation in the Middle East."