First truck of diapers being unloaded on March 8th at our partner warehouse in Iraq.

Chairman’s Report for August 19, 2016

In this issue of the newsletter
New:        Sunni Muslim employees of the United Nations “vet” Syrian refugees
New:        Obama Administration surge of Sunni Muslims “refugees” continue
Update:   Mainstream media hides the real horror of Christian persecution
Update:   September diaper delivery moves forward with Christmas program

The United Nations, not the State Department, decides who comes to America

Iraqi Christian refugee children in Lebanon visited RFC fact-finding team in 2007. William Murray standing at left rear and Gov. Beasley kneeling with children right front.

The year was 2007 and the late Father Keith Roderick, of Christian Solidarity and I had formed a fact finding mission to Lebanon and Iraq to investigate the situation of Christians who were fleeing Iraq after the United States had overthrown Saddam Hussein and the nation had deteriorated into a state of chaos. As part of the delegation we recruited Governor David Beasley (R-SC) and investigative journalist Ken Timmerman. What we found was shocking.

The acting American ambassador to Jordan at the time, David Hale, had zero interest in the plight of Christians, as his main personal agenda was “gay rights.” He actually wanted those of us on the fact finding team to have a picture made with him in the Embassy in front of his wall tapestry that was in reality a rainbow flag, not the American flag.

It was disturbing to hear him and his staff talk about the Christians. When asked if anyone on staff had contacted any churches about the plight of the Iraqi Christians, we were told, “It isn’t our job to go to church.”  For some reason gays in the State Department are attracted to Muslim nations. Hale is currently the American ambassador to Pakistan appointed by President Obama.

Jordanian guards had been hired by Hale, presumably with the permission of the State Department, to form a primary perimeter around the U.S. Embassy. Any Iraqi citizen who approached was told verbally to go to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) office in Amman. There were no exceptions, not even for those who had relatives in the United States who would sponsor them, nor for those who had worked with the United States military in Iraq and were thus endangered.

Because the vast majority of Jordanians are Sunni Muslims, the entire staff of the UNHCR dealing with refugees was and still is Sunni Muslim. The female staffers of the UNHCR work in hijabs, and of course everyone on the UNHCR staff can recognize the Christian surnames of some applicants. The Christian applicants have been treated accordingly. Many Christian refugees were forced to flee to Jordan with their families because they had worked for the United States military in Iraq.

As the occupation force downsized and contractors departed, Christians who had worked for them found themselves not only out of work but the targets of Sunni terrorists as well.

As I write about the mission nine years later, I recall some of the testimonies that were given me by Iraqi Christians about how the middle class lives they once had in Iraq crumbled as law and order vanished. One that still rattles my brain is the weeping of a mother whose daughter was kidnapped when the family refused to give her in marriage to a Muslim who had moved into the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad. The girl was kidnapped and $100,000 demanded.

The family sold most of what they had and paid the money only to find the 16-year-old dumped at their doorstep with a cut throat the next morning. The kidnappers called the family to taunt them by saying they killed her to break the hearts of Christians. The Dora neighborhood had 30,000 Christians before the 2003 invasion and by 2008 had virtually no Christians left. Of the 1.3 million pre-war Christians, perhaps 400,000 remain. Virtually none made it to America.

Today the Obama Administration still relies on the UNHCR to “vet” refugees.

Obama surge of Sunni Muslims from Syria unabated

Stop the surge of Syrian Sunni Muslims: The Religious Freedom Coalition program to alert Congress to President Obama’s policy of bring bringing Syrian Sunni Muslims to the United States rather than the persecuted Christians is more important than ever.

President Barack Hussein Obama admitted 2,340 Syrian refugees in July alone, a number about the same as the 2,406 admitted in June. Obama had publicly committed to bring 10,000 Syrians to the United States by the end of the Fiscal year on September 31st. So far about 99% are Sunni Muslims and virtually none are the persecuted minorities of Syria.

Of the 2,340 Syrians paid by the Obama Administration to come to America in July, just 35 were Christians. That means just 0.6 percent were Christians, while the Christian population of Syria is over 10%. A total of or 98.6% of the Syrians admitted in July were Sunni Muslims. Barack Obama was raised in Indonesia as a Sunni Muslim.

The United States’ annual budget is calculated from October 1st of each year. Accordingly, the State Department Refugee Processing Center keeps data for the 2016 fiscal year which began on October 1st, 2015. Since the beginning of the 2016 fiscal year (FY) a total of 7,551 Syrian refugees have been processed into the United States of which 7,432 (98.4%) have been Sunni Muslim and just 35 – less than one-half of a percent – were Christians.

In the current fiscal year only 109 Syrians under the Obama program allowed into the United States were classified as victims of the Sunni Muslim Islamic State. Other than the 35 Christians, there were 20 Shia Muslims, 10 Yazidis and one atheist. A few did not state a religious preference.

Patrick Goodenough of CNS News has dogged the story of Obama’s push to bring Syrian Sunni Muslims to the United States and the reporter has obtained numerous State Department records. The first week of August he reported that Obama had so far admitted a total of 9,424 Syrian refugees to the U.S. since the Saudi sponsored revolt against Syria’s secular government began. Of those 83 were Christian and 9,151 were Sunni Muslim.

In August the Religious Freedom Coalition mailed almost 50,000 pre-addressed post cards to concerned citizens with a letter directing them to mail the cards to congressmen and Senators demanding Congress stop this outrage of helping the Sunni Muslim terror organizations in Syria including Al-Nusra and the Islamic State.

Media fails to report true horror of persecution of Christians

Media fails to report persecution: Christians have faced the worst that the Islamic State has to offer – crucifixions, beheadings, gang rapes, sex slavery, beatings, and robbery – but it is rarely that the mainstream media reports this fact to the public. When news articles do appear they are watered down. On August 10th this year, an Associated Press article appeared by Balint Szanko titled “Christians say defeating Islamic State won’t make Iraq safe for them.” Although the reporter refers to the eviction of the Christians from Qaraqosh on the Nineveh Plain and their lives now in Ankawa in the Kurdish area, the full terror they endured is not reported.

Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States, there were 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. The vice president of Iraq was a Christian, as was the head of Saddam Hussein’s air force at the time of the First Gulf War, Georges Sada, He was retired before the Second Gulf War, but sided with the opposition to Saddam and as a result became the National Security Advisor in the new government the United States established. Sada is alive today and living in the United States, and I have had the opportunity to speak with him often about Iraq and the two wars.

Because of the size of the Christian population and the fact that Iraq had a secular government, Christians fared better than in most majority Muslim nations. That does not mean they were treated equally. For example, all given names on birth certificates had to be names that appeared in the Koran, so no Christian first names were allowed.

The thrust of Szanko’s article was that 90% of the Christians in one of the camps housing 5,000 families would leave “if organized migration was possible.” What the article does not mention is that the Christians forced from their homes and living in makeshift camps are not considered refugees and are not registered with the United Nations. Since the Obama Administration only accepts refugees referred by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), there is no possible way for them to immigrate to the United States.

Truckload of diapers supplied by the Religious Freedom Coalition unloaded at a ministry warehouse in Erbil, Iraq

Ankawa is our working area: The town mentioned in the AP article mentioned above, Ankawa, is the location of our ministry partner in Iraq. The warehouse area where our diapers are first delivered and stored is constructed of sea-going containers which are secure and actually much cheaper than building a warehouse. They also do not require building permits.

As can be seen from the photo at right the truck delivering diapers to the warehouse area in Ankawa is filled to the doors. This is a standard size truck in Iraq and the reason why we buy 160,000 diapers per delivery. That is the exact number that fill the truck. At this stage one full truck per delivery is the best we can do with the funds that have been raised for the diaper program

September diaper delivery date to be set: As of right now we are only $6,000 short of the funds needed for the September delivery. There are many faithful supporters of our Diapers for Refugees program and I believe with all my heart that the need will be met in time for a mid-September delivery. Many families are being provided for but the number in need is increasing. As the Islamic State has lost some territory in recent months, more Christian families have managed to escape and travel to Ankawa. Please be in prayer for these new families who have endured captivity under the Islamic State for up to two years.

Amazon and the Religious Freedom Coalition: The Religious Freedom Coalition is a non-profit tax exempt organization. As a result, Amazon will give us a small percentage of every purchase a Religious Freedom Coalition supporter spends. BUT … Amazon does not make any donation to us unless the supporters list the Religious Freedom Coalition.

For the Religious Freedom Coalition to receive donations from Amazon all purchases must be made at www.Smile.Amazon.com. At the Amazon “smile” site the Religious Freedom Coalition must be picked as the beneficiary of the donation. This only has to be done once and after that the donations are automatic.

The amount the Religious Freedom Coalition will receive from Amazon is small, just $5.00 for every $1,000 supporters spend. That does not amount to much unless thousands of people use the program. But it can add up. If 1,000 people were to spend $200 each in one year at Amazon, the Religious Freedom Coalition would receive a $10,000 donation. That would pay for over one half of a diaper delivery! Your friends and family who don’t normally donate directly to non-profit organizations may be willing to use the program.

THE CHRISTMAS PROGRAM

            Expansion in Iraq: Last year in Iraq two Christmas programs were held, each for 300 children. I was present at both programs and can attest to the joy of the children at being able to have a real Christmas despite the dismal circumstances they live in. Unfortunately, about 2,000 children in the target age range of six to fourteen years old were not able to participate.

This year the Christmas program in the Ankawa area is being expanded to reach all 2,600 of the children in that age range. The three hour plus programs will be broken down by age groups to provide appropriate programs such as the Gospel themed puppet shows, songs and games to play. Even the meals will be slightly different.

The Ankawa / Erbil area is not the only area in northern Iraq with camps of displaced Christians. There are also camps located in Zumar, Kirkuk and Dohuk in northern Iraq. If there is a full scale invasion to retake Mosul, which is the second largest city in Iraq, the number of refugees could surge. Sadly, many of them will be Sunni Muslims who stole the homes and valuables of their Christian neighbors under the authority of the Islamic State. Christians still held captive in Mosul who can escape will probably go to Dohuk first.

The need in Dohuk is great, but as of now we do not have the ability to assist with either a diaper or Christmas program there. Please pray for all displaced Christians in Iraq, that they can find permanent homes. Also pray for the Iraqi Christians who fled to Syria after the 2003 invasion and who are now under threat from the Islamic State, and from “rebels” backed by the United States as well.

Please pray with me that the Christmas and diaper programs will be fully funded for 2016. Our Scripture for our work in Iraq is Proverbs 24:11 –  Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

 

William J. Murray, Chairman
Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #900, Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 742-8990

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