Chairman’s Report For December 2, 2016

In this issue of the newsletter
Update: Christmas Program may expand to liberated areas in Iraq
New: Will Donald Trump stop Obama’s arms flow to Islamic fighters?
New: New bill by congresswoman to stop arming Sunni Muslim fighters in Syria Update: Bills in Congress to help Christian refugees will be refiled in 115th Congress

Taking Christmas to newly liberated Christian towns

Qaraqosh and Bartella liberated: For over two years the Christians of Qaraqosh, which is Iraq’s largest Christian town, have had no place to worship. The Islamic State (ISIS) captured Mosul, Iraq in June 2014. With this huge city under its control, the Islamic State quickly moved on the surrounding Christian towns and villages of the Nineveh Plain.

Inside the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, Iraq, on 30 October 2016. The town of Qaraqosh was freed by NPU (Nineveh Plain Unit) after two years of ISIS occupation. (Photo by Joseph Galanakis/NurPhoto) Posted with permission

Inside the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, Iraq, on 30 October 2016. The town of Qaraqosh was freed by NPU (Nineveh Plain Unit) after two years of ISIS occupation. (Photo by Joseph Galanakis/NurPhoto) Posted with permission

The majority of what is left of Iraq’s Christians were living in the Nineveh Plain, having been forced to flee Baghdad and other cities in the south of Iraq.

In August of 2014 Qaraqosh, the largest of the Christian towns was captured, forcing its 50,000 Christians to flee, mostly to the Erbil area where Christmas for Refugees programs are held.

The largest church, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, was desecrated and gutted. All Bibles and even baptismal records were destroyed. The steeple bell was stolen.

Syriac Catholics, who are Assyrians, have lived in these towns for 2,000 years. Many of their ancestors were led to faith in Jesus by some of his own Apostles. Today these Christians still speak Aramaic, the language used by our Lord.

Everything in Qaraqosh is damaged. Everything left behind by fleeing Christians was looted by the religious army that follows the strict teachings of Mohamed.

Most homes are still not liveable.  Sometime in the future the Christmas for Refugees program will be expanded to Qaraqosh, Bartella and other Christian towns which are being liberated. No families have as yet moved back to Qaraqosh or other towns because of a lack of services including power. The children of Qaraqosh who fled to Erbil will have a Christmas for Refugees event planned for them there sometime before Christmas this year.

President-elect Trump to stop US aid to Islamic jihadists

            Trump will work with Syria: President-elect Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal in a November interview, “I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria. My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS.”

This was a reaffirmation of Trump’s comments to the New York Times in March. During that interview he stated, “I’m not saying Assad is a good man, ‘cause he’s not, but our far greater problem is not Assad, it’s ISIS.”

Back in 2014 Donald Trump made one of his strongest statements about President Obama arming Islamic fighters when he told Fox News, “We are arming people, but now we have no idea who they are. They’re all splintered up…they will eventually probably join ISIS, and they’ll have all our weapons. [Obama] made a mistake.”

The President-elect’s choice for National Security Advisor confirms his positon against arming Islamic rebels. General Michael Flynn was asked in a 2015 interview if the Obama Administration made a “willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?” His response was clear that the decision was “willful” and not a result of just accidently arming the wrong people.

General Flynn’s statements in these interviews confirm a DIA report, formerly classified “SECRET//NOFORN” and dated August 12, 2012, that was circulated widely among various government agencies, including CENTCOM, the CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA, State Dept., and many others. The newly declassified report states:

“The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey [who] support [Syrian] opposition … There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime…”

What does that statement in the Defense Intelligence Agency report mean? It is stating that Western powers, including the United States, in 2012 wanted to allow a “declared” Salafist principality in the area of Ragga, Syria. Ragga is now the capital of the Islamic State. The Islamic State is indeed the “Salafist principality” that President Obama and other Western leaders plus President Erdogan of Turkey wanted to create to fight the Syrian government in 2012, the same Islamic state they are now trying to destroy.

General Flynn understands that it never is a good idea for America to arm Muslim jihadists thinking they will stay on our side. It didn’t work for Ronald Reagan in Afghanistan and it did not work for Barack Obama in Syria. Trump will not follow this path.

The same week President elect Trump nominated General Flynn, he met with Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who has been outspoken against President Obama’s Syrian policy.

Gabbard, a decorated veteran still serving in the National Guard, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. She told the media that during the meeting with Trump they discussed legislation she is pushing that would end “our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government.”

The Trump transition team let it be known that Gabbard is under “serious” consideration for a Cabinet post, but Democratic leaders will try to force her to stay out of the Administration.

A Democrat who confronts Obama/Clinton on arming Islamic fighters

Congresswoman Gabbard, a veteran, has served two tours in Iraq and understands who the enemy that threatens us is.

Congresswoman Gabbard, a veteran, has served two tours in Iraq and understands who the enemy that threatens us is.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is the author of H.R. 4108, a bipartisan bill to end U.S. efforts to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad. The bill, filed in November by her and Republican Austin Scott of Georgia, is titled “To prohibit the use of funds for the provision of assistance to Syrian opposition groups and individuals.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed combat veteran, said the intent of the bill is to “Bring an immediate end to the illegal, counter-productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.”

“Our primary mission should be the war against ISIS, al Qaeda, and radical Islamic extremists that have operations both inside and outside of Syria and Iraq.  Those groups have carried out attacks on American allies, and are currently threatening attacks on our homeland.  This represents a clear and present danger to our citizens, and I support eliminating these radical Islamic terrorists through any means necessary.  Working to remove Assad at this stage is counter-productive,” she said.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard listed 10 reasons the U.S. must end its war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad:

  1. Because if we succeed in overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad, it will open the door for ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamic extremists to take over all of Syria.  There will be genocide and suffering on a scale beyond our imagination.  These Islamic extremists will take over all the weaponry, infrastructure, and military hardware of the Syrian army and be more dangerous than ever before.

  2. Because overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad is the goal of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamic extremist groups. We should not be allying ourselves with these Islamic extremists by helping them achieve their goal because it is against the security interests of the United States and all of civilization.

  3. Because the money and weapons the CIA is providing to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad are going directly or indirectly into the hands of the Islamic extremist groups, including al-Qaeda affiliates, al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and others who are the actual enemies of the United States.  These groups make up close to 90 percent of the so-called opposition forces, and are the most dominant fighters on the ground.

  4. Because our efforts to overthrow Assad have increased and will continue to increase the strength of ISIS and other Islamic extremists, thus making them a bigger regional and global threat.

  5. Because this war has exacerbated the chaos and carnage in Syria and, along with the terror inflicted by ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups fighting to take over Syria, continues to increase the number of Syrians forced to flee their country.

  6. Because we should learn from our past mistakes in Iraq and Libya that U.S. wars to overthrow secular dictators (Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi) cause even more chaos and human suffering and open the door for Islamic extremists to take over in those countries.

  1. Because the U.S. has no credible government or government leader ready to bring order, security, and freedom to the people of Syria.

  2. Because even the ‘best case’ scenario—that the U.S. successfully overthrows the Syrian government of Assad—would obligate the United States to spend trillions of dollars and the lives of American service members in the futile effort to create a new Syria.  This is what we have been trying to do in Iraq for twelve years, and we still have not succeeded.  The situation in Syria will be much more difficult than in Iraq.

  3. Because our war against the Syrian government of Assad is interfering with our being one-pointedly focused on the war to defeat ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the other Islamic extremists who are our actual enemy.

  4. Because our war to overthrow the Assad government puts us in direct conflict with Russia and increases the likelihood of war between the United States and Russia and the possibility of another world war.”

Working with Gabbard’s office: I am in contact with Tulsi Gabbard’s office, and the Religious Freedom Coalition will work to assist her in getting co-sponsors for H.R. 4108.

Currently we are in a so called “lame-duck” session, that is a Congressional session  between the recent election and the swearing in of the 115 Congress on January 3rd, 2017. In all honesty this bill cannot be passed, particularly with just ten legislative days planned in December before a Christmas break. We will work with her office to refile the bill in the 115th Congress.

There will be 58 new congressmen to work with in the new Congress. They replace 43 who did not seek reelection and 15 who lost in primaries and the general election.

Other bills the Religious Freedom Coalition supports, including HR-4017 and HR-5961 that would assist Christian refugees, must be refiled as new bills in the 115th Congress.

Those two bills, as well the Religious Persecution Relief Act (S.2708) introduced by Senator Tom Cotton, will all cease to exist at midnight on December 31st. These bills, which will have new bill numbers, must be re-submitted after the new Congress is sworn in on January 4th.

Postcards program to restart: The Religious Freedom Coalition has restarted the Postcards to Congress program to stop the Obama/Clinton funding of Sunni Muslim fighters in Syria. The program is limited to demand congressmen and Senators help President-elect Donald Trump undo the insane policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Iraq and Syria.

You can participate by sending a fax to your congressman and Senators free of charge right now, and then again when the new Congress is seated in January. To send the free fax that contains the same demand as the post card, go to on the Internet.

I will be writing the next newsletter while in Jordan and Iraq, and hope to have lots of photos of the children at their Christmas parties … please pray for the safety of the children! Any time there is a large gathering of Christians in a majority Muslim area, there is the possibility of terrorism. Conquest, not peace, is the goal of Islam.

William J. Murray, Chairman

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

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