Militant groups like the Islamic State have long targeted Christian holy sites in the Middle East. According to Sara Savva, the destruction of sacred Christian sites in the region is “a loss for every single Christian around the world” and a “big loss for mankind.”
During an In Defense of Christians event, a diverse panel discussed Turkey’s current political, cultural, and religious environment, as well as potential policy options for the country to become more democratic and religiously rich.
While these reports are never perfect, their existence reflects how the US government is uniquely positioned to serve as a global leader in the promotion of human rights. USCIRF’s commissioners and staff deserve commendation for producing them.
It’s now up to the Biden administration to decide if it will work with US allies to save the Middle East’s “last bastion of Christianity” or let it fall into the hands of Iran, Turkey, Russia, and China.
Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq was the first of its kind in papal history. The remaining Christians in Iraq long anticipated his visit, including to an Assyrian city just 23 miles (37 kilometers) east of Mosul.
Hopefully, Pope Francis’ trip to visit the Christians in Iraq will not only lift their spirits but also inspire change so that they can stay and prosper in their ancient homeland, which would benefit all of Iraq.
As the United States continues its political transition, many in the human rights advocacy community anxiously await tangible signs, beyond rhetoric, that the cause of international religious freedom will remain a policy priority for the Biden administration.