Aid to the Church in Need-USA (ACNUSA) has launched a one-million-dollar campaign to provide humanitarian aid to the Christian community in Iraq and Syria that has been terrorized by militants of the Islamic State.
This week, social media sites have been lit up with disturbing images of a 7-year-old boy holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier. According to International Christian Concern, the boy’s father, an Australian citizen who had joined the forces of the Islamic State in Syria, took the photo.
These scenes and so many more have given rise for the campaign that seeks to stop the atrocities of ISIS.
“Both countries are threatened with the extinction of ancient Christian communities,” said George Marlin, Chairman of the Board of ACNUSA. “Both Churches and governments in the West must do their utmost to prevent what has become a tragedy of historic proportions.”
In the wake of Sunni-Shiite clashes in Iraq and the rise in Islamic extremism, the Iraqi Christian population has dwindled to some 150,000. At one time more than one million Christians resided in the region.
The Syrian conflict has sparked the exodus of almost a third of the country’s Christian population of 1.8 million, the majority of whom are currently stranded in Lebanon. In addition, at least several hundred thousand Christians are displaced within Syria itself.
“Not only is the rich Christian patrimony of these countries at stake,” Marlin said in a statement. “Christians play a vital role in Muslim societies as a moderating force, playing an indispensable role in mediating between warring factions and maintaining relations with the international community.”
Publication date: August 15, 2014