Waiting for 'right moment' to help Mideast Christians a useless effort, journalist says

Waiting for the exact "right moment" to help Christians who were displaced by the atrocities and violence of the Islamic State in the Middle East resettle and rebuild their lives is useless because that time will never come, according to an American journalist.

(REUTERS / Ahmed Jadallah)Christians displaced from Nineveh Plains vote during Kurds independence referendum at the Ashti 2 refugee camp in Erbil, Iraq September 25, 2017.

In an analysis piece published on Oct. 1, Crux editor John L. Allen Jr. highlighted the plight of displaced Christians in the Nineveh Plains and the joint project of three main Iraqi churches to rebuild historical communities in the region that ISIS had destroyed. So far, the Nineveh Plains Reconstruction Project has allowed around 17 percent of the 100,000 displaced believers to return.

As of now, Aid to the Church in Need is trying to raise $250 million to keep the project rolling and is hoping that some of that amount will come from the $1.4 billion that the U.S. has allotted for the support of ISIS victims in Iraq and Syria. After speaking to a couple of people from that region, Allen learned that most of them either have never known peace in their whole lifetime or have only experienced a few peaceful years because they have always lived in conflict and turmoil.

From those conversations, Allen drew the conclusion that waiting for the right moment to help these Christians will not be productive because there was no guarantee that peace and stability will reign in the Middle East. Therefore, those who want to help them should do so even under the present circumstances.

"If there's major conflict, that's the end for the Christians there. They won't wait around to see this movie one more time," said Archdiocese of Erbil counselor Stephen Rasche.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Senate committee voted last month to advance a bill that aims to ensure that Christian genocide victims in Iraq will receive American aid. Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), one of those who sponsored the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017, welcomed the vote as an important step, the National Catholic Register reported.

Smith said aid from non-governmental organizations cannot cover all of the needs of the Christian genocide victims. He said these people need access to U.S. humanitarian aid, adding that the money would be able to reach them better if it were funneled to Christian churches and organizations that have direct access to these displaced minorities.