December 15, 2018
Washington DC: The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy applauds President Trump for signing the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018. AMCD’s founding members have worked for over 30 years to help the suffering minorities in the Middle East.
“The systematic discrimination of religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East by ISIS, the Taliban and the Islamic Republic of Iran is an insult to the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all members of the human family which will lead to a world-wide catastrophe if unchecked,” said AMCD co-chair Hossein Khorram.
Commenting on President Trump’s signing of the legislation, Dr Walid Phares, who launched the first coalition of Middle East Christians and other minorities in the United States back in September 1991 said, “This is a benchmark in the history of defending oppressed minorities.”
Phares, AMCD’s senior advisor, had been a pioneer in counter persecution advocacy and academic research while he lived in the Middle East prior to his emigration to America in 1990. Phares has also been a prolific writer on the subject, with books and articles appearing for over three decades. In his first testimony to the Senate in 1997, to then Senator Sam Brownback (now Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom), and later as an expert with Congress, Phares proposed a strong US policy towards minorities in the Middle East. He included the topic of religious persecution as a senior national security advisor to Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012 and four years later worked on similar policy suggestion as a foreign policy advisor to now President Donald Trump.
Continued Dr. Phares, “After over 30 years of hard work, overseas and in the US, to promote the rights and safety of these vulnerable communities in the Middle East and Africa, I am thrilled to see a US President signing this historic document after Congress had voted for several resolutions in the same direction, over the years.”
Phares, also a co-secretary general of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Terrorism (TAG) has led several NGOs delegations to the UN Security Council in 2014 and 2015 to introduce the idea of declaring the ethnic cleansing and massacres of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, as a genocide, a war crime and a crime against humanity, concepts adopted by the Council later.
“Now we need to develop a policy of resettlement of the refugees back to their towns and villages and provide protection for them. That would be a fulfillment of their aspirations,” said Phares.
“The American Christian community has been slow to awaken to the slow-motion obliteration of the ancient Christians of the Middle East,” said AMCD co-chair Tom Harb. “These communities trace their origins back to the First Century and have kept the language of Jesus Christ (Aramaic) alive in their liturgies.”
“We simply cannot allow Christianity to be snuffed out in the land of its birth,” added AMCD co-chair John Hajjar. “This bill throws Christians in the Middle East a much needed life-line.”
Bravo, President Trump!