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Political And Religious Leaders Accuse President Obama of 'Indifference' to Plight of Middle Eastern Christians

( [email protected] ) Aug 12, 2015 01:05 PM EDT
Former White House Chief of Staff John Sununu has accused President Barack Obama of "indifference" as persecution of Christian communities across the Middle East worsens.
Syrian refugees at Lebanese border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley. March 2014 Reuters

Former White House Chief of Staff John Sununu has accused President Barack Obama of "indifference" as the persecution of Christian communities across the Middle East worsens.

Speaking on Sunday on AM 970 in New York, Sununu, who served as chief of staff during the George W. Bush administration, urged congressmen and senators to "talk some sense into the president."

"It's a tragedy what's happening," Sununu said. "And I cannot believe that this administration, this president, does not understand that there is a concerted effort to destroy the Christian community in Iraq, the Christian community in Syria in particular, and they're being slaughtered."

"There seems to be an indifference in Washington to what is happening there," said the former New Hampshire governor.

Sununu's comments were made in light of recent reports revealing that over 500,000 Iraqi and Syrian Christians have fled from their homes to save themselves from being forced to convert to Islam or die at the hands of Islamic State fighters.

While the U.S. and its allies have been bombing terror targets across Iraq and Syria in an effort to halt the expansion of the terrorist group, ISIS is "fundamentally no weaker than it was when the US-led bombing campaign began a year ago," a recent report by the Associated Press revealed.

Fox News notes that about 7,000 Christians from northern Iraq have found refuge in Jordan, including about 2,000 living in church-sponsored shelters. However, Jordan struggles with "high unemployment and says it cannot afford to integrate hundreds of thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the labor force", leaving many refugees in limbo.

Additionally, over two dozen Iraqi Chaldean Christians forced from their homes by ISIS were detained at an ICE detention center in California for six months after crossing the border from Mexico and are set to be deported in coming weeks, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Monday. 

"These aren't people who just decided to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. These are people saying, 'we have nowhere else to go,'" Mark Arabo, a spokesman for the Chaldean community, told the San Diego Union earlier in August.

"It seems like the border is open to everyone unless you're an Iraq Christian fleeing ISIS," Arabo told Bill O'Reilly of Fox News in a separate interview. "Obama is to blame, Congress is to blame, and the U.S. State Department is to blame."

The Chaldean Christians are being held "without any logic or explanation; they've escaped ISIS only to be imprisoned by ICE. These are 20 innocent Christians who escaped a holocaust only to be imprisoned by ICE," Arabo said. "These are people we should be celebrating not imprisoning."

Archbishop Maroun Lahham, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem's vicar for Jordan, also recently lamented that "the international community is absolutely inert, absent, or rather a silent accomplice" in the persecution of Christians, Catholic World News reported.

"The international Christian community, however, has never ceased to send aid to meet the needs of the brothers of the Church," Lahham added. "The political world is absolutely to be condemned, but the world of Caritas helps us, especially the Italian Episcopal Conference."