Christian power couple Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the creators of the hit "The Bible" series, are working to raise $25 million to help Christians displaced or affected by the ISIS terror group in Iraq and Syria.
"The Cradle of Christianity Fund," which the couple hope to fulfill before a brutal winter arrives in the Middle East, will be distributed through an established network of traditional church communities, according to the Institute for Global Engagement.
"This initial gift will be used exclusively to rescue those in immediate need while simultaneously beginning a process of restoration and healing through the documentation of both the atrocities inflicted upon their communities, and the stories of hope and courage found amidst such unspeakable tragedy," states the Fund's page on the Institute's website.
The Blaze reports that Burnett and Downy met with the Institute for Global Engagement president Dr. Chris Seiple to promote the initiative.
Currently, over 800,000 Iraqi and Syrian religious minorities are displaced and living in streets, churches, and abandoned buildings.
Seiple, along with Johnnie Moore, the couple's chief-of-staff, visited areas of Iraq and Jordan earlier this month to get a firsthand-look at what families most need, reports the Institute's website.
"Nearly all of these men, women, and children have insufficient accommodations to survive the harsh Iraqi winter, as the aid community struggles to find solutions and resources," the initiative notes. "For example, by the UN's own account, if it operates at maximum efficiency in Northern Iraq, it will only be able to provide shelter and provisions for 40% of the IDPs [internally displaced people] in Iraqi Kurdistan alone, much less the other IDPs across the country. We are focused on the displaced and refugee Christians, and the communities that they serve."
Over the past year, ISIS has forced thousands of Christians out of their communities, forcing all believers to accept death, exile, or conversion. Last week, the terrorist group overtook the Anbar Province, forcing 60,000 more Iraqis out of their homes.
"In today's Middle East, the majority of the Christian faith communities, which include Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants, suffer violence, abuse and injustice from extremist Islamic forces by virtue of being Christian," said Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute. "Now facing an existential threat to their presence in the lands where Christianity has its roots, the Churches in the Middle East fear they have been largely ignored by their coreligionists in the West. The Christians of Iraq and Syria, in particular, are facing a deliberate campaign of religious cleansing at the hands of Islamist militants. This is a crime against humanity, as well as a tragedy for the Church. The West needs to recognize and speak out about the plight of this defenseless religious minority and find peaceful means to alleviate it."
To make a contribution to "The Cradle of Christianity, click here.