Thanks to two former U.S. counter-terrorism officers, Joseph and Michele Assad, 149 Iraqi Christian refugees are safe from the threat of the Islamic State terrorist group.
The Assads arranged for these 149 refugees, which consisted of 25 families and 62 children, to board a private plane in Iraq on December 10th, which transported them to Slovakia, where they will be granted asylum in one month.
Initially contracted by the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, the Assads worked with Mercury One’s Nazarene Fund, which helped raise over $12 million to make this mission possible. The Assads are concerned about the fate of Christians in ISIS-held territory, noting that although Muslims are typically granted entry into neighboring countries, it is harder for Christians to escape. This concern proved to be true during the planning of this process as Mr. Assad notes that “at least a dozen countries” denied entry to the Christian refugees before Slovakia agreed.
This rescue is personal to Mr. Assad, who fled his country of Egypt to go to the United States because of his religion. “It’s about giving people a chance, like somebody took a chance on me,” Mr. Assad told ABC News.
There are tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians who are currently facing a major threat from ISIS. Many have been given the choice of converting to Islam or being murdered. The Christian Freedom International has suggested that Christians are killed by ISIS or another terrorist group every five minutes.
Despite the large number of Iraqi Christians who face this constant threat and have taken up arms to defend themselves against ISIS, Obama has refused to provide assistance to help them in their fight. The Christian Assyrian Army has endlessly asked Obama for training and arms assistance, but has so far seen no results.
On the home front, Obama has criticized opponents of allowing Syrian refugees as un-American, however isn’t it just as unpatriotic to ignore the helpless Christians facing murder and torture because of their religion?