September 14, 2018
In this issue of the newsletter
New: Working toward a Christmas for Refugees program in Syria this year.
Update: Special summer camp for Iraqi Christian children in Jordan a great success!
Update: A million more diapers delivered to Christian babies in Iraq … Can we do it?
Update: HR-390 – Just a few months for Congress to act to pass critical bill.
Christmas for Refugees in Syria!
Dramatic move for Christmas for Refugees program: I cannot go into detail as to how we are going to help Christian children in Syria celebrate the Lord’s birth this year. The important thing is that at least 1,000 displaced Syrian Christians will have a real Christmas this year if we can raise the needed funds. With Syria added, the Christmas for Refugees program will help children and their families in five nations this year: Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Nigeria. Please pray that we will be able to expand to Syria.
According to data from the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, nearly 900,000 Syrians are expected to return to Syria in the next few months. In 2017 more than 700,000 returned. More than 200,000 have returned to Aleppo — the city that Western media said people would flee from if the Syrian government took it back from American supported “rebels.” The opposite has happened. As the secular government of Syria wins back territory from American and Saudi backed Sunni Muslim rebels, civilians are returning.
Bottom line: The vast majority of the Syrian people did not want the strict Sharia law that was being imposed by the American and Saudi backed Sunni Muslim rebels.
There are very few veiled women in government-controlled areas.
Syrian civilians are also returning to the areas near the Jordanian and Lebanese borders recently captured by the Syrian Army. It is in that area the Christmas for Refugees program will operate if the program for Syria is fully funded.
Syrian Christians fled to Jordan and Lebanon when areas they lived in were attacked by the Islamic State (ISIS), al- Nusra (al-Qaeda’s name in Syria) and over one hundred different armed Sunni Muslim groups supported by Saudi Arabia and Western nations. The CIA and Pentagon ran different programs supplying weapons and payments to Sunni factions — and on several occasions the CIA backed groups have fought the Pentagon backed troops.
Some of the CIA supported groups that have received heavy weapons, including TOW missiles, include: The Martyrs of Islam, Dawn of Islam Division, Islamic Freedom Brigade, Mujahideen of Horan Brigade, Partisans of the Islam Front, and Army of Mujahideen. All of these groups were murderous Sunni Muslim thugs that persecuted Christians and Shia Muslims.
As these groups were defeated, Christians and Shia Muslims who had fled began to move back. The Christians are moving back to destroyed and looted homes and churches, just as they have in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain. The Christmas for Refugees program can help these Christian children celebrate the birth of our Lord this Christmas.
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Summer camp program expanded for Iraqi Christian refugees
Summer camp for Iraqi Christian refugee children: Christians may be returning to Syria, but few are returning to Iraq. The suffering has just been too great. When
the first Gulf War began in 1990 there were 2,000,000 Christians in Iraq. Today there are less than 200,000 Christians left in Iraq.
Most Christians left after the second Gulf War began with the American-led invasion in 2003. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians moved to Syria during the Sunni led rebellion against the United States occupation. During the insurgency the United States lost 4,497 dead and over 32,000 wounded. In all, about 1,000,000 Iraqis have died so far as a result of the 2nd Gulf War.
Many of the Christians who fled are still in Jordan and Lebanon. Most of the wealthy Christian families have moved to Europe and some have managed to make it to the United States, but not many.
A special summer camp was held this year at the Christian summer camp for youth which the Religious Freedom Coalition supports in Jordan. Above and beyond the other aid given to the camp this year by the Religious Freedom Coalition, the RFC also paid for an entire five-day camp just for Iraqi Christian refugee children who came from the worst conditions. Their program was held the week after the sessions normally held for Jordanian Christian children.
Our ministry partner who operates the summer camp in Jordan told us of the sheer joy the children had just on the bus ride, as they escaped the horrid conditions they live in, if only for a few days. I have been to the slum areas where many of these families live in windowless basements. Often there is one family per room and one toilet for everyone living there.
Diapers for Refugees: One million more diapers this year!
Good news: I have sent the $35,000 to Iraq needed to purchase 500,000 diapers for distribution in September.
Bad news: We still need $35,000 for the December distribution at the same time we are preparing for the Christmas for Refugees program expansion.
It will be difficult to raise the $35,000 needed for the diapers at the same time we are raising funds for the Christmas for Refugees program which will be serving refugee children and their families in four, and hopefully five, different nations.
We are currently buying 500,000 diapers at a time which greatly reduces the cost. Each diaper shipment supplies diapers for about 2,000 infants and toddlers over a three-month period. Since we buy in this quantity, we can buy them direct from the factory in Turkey for just 3.7 cents each. Over a three-month period, around 300 diapers are distributed per child. The actual number for each child depends upon age. Packages contain from 24 to 44 diapers depending on the age.
The Diapers for Refugees program began in 2016 when I learned of the horrors caused by a lack of clean diapers. Some babies were scarred for life from extreme diaper rash that became infected. Cloth diapers could not be washed properly as there was no hot water and so many people were sharing the limited bathroom facilities that there were outbreaks of disease.
As Christian families move back to their looted and burned out homes in the Nineveh Plain, the situation has not improved. The well water has the same content of salt as sea water and can’t be used to wash cloth diapers. Drinking and cooking water must be trucked in for perhaps another year, until lines are repaired to bring in fresh water from elsewhere.
Adult diapers are a separate issue. We are buying 888 packages of special needs adult diapers for distribution in September. These are very high quality manufactured in Turkey. There is a great need for these among very elderly Christians who did not receive critical medical care earlier.
Please pray with me that all the funds needed for the Diapers for Refugees program for the rest of the year will be raised well before the beginning of the Christmas season. There is a critical need.
I do not want to be forced to choose between funding the Diaper program in December or cutting back on the number of children and their families we can help celebrate the Lord’s birth at Christmas for Refugees events.
Many of these Christians have seen loved ones die in horrible, violent ways and at the very least all of them have lost their homes and possessions. Let’s do what we can to help them!
HR-390 can’t pass the Senate and get help to persecuted Christians
The Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017 (HR-390) passed out of the House a year ago on a near unanimous vote. Then, it sat in the Senate for many months until it was totally re-written by Senator Corker (R-TN). Instead of aiding Christians it was turned into a bill that would set up a never-ending commission to blame Russia and Iran for the civil war in Syria which was actually financed by Saudi Arabia and the U.S.
Our friend Senator Rand Paul is blocking the bill in the Senate until the original House language is restored to assist the victims in genocide in Iraq and Syria.
The fastest way to get kicked out of the office of a congressman or senator on Capitol Hill is to tell the truth about the despotic rulers of Saudi Arabia who export their Sunni Muslim extremism by violence. Because the Saudi rulers are Sunni Muslims, no bill can blame Sunni Muslims for genocide, war crimes, or terrorism.
HR-390 was changed to take the blame off the Sunni Muslim terrorists such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda and put the blame on Christian Russia. That is incredible.
A few weeks ago, the Saudi Air Force deliberately targeted a school bus in Yemen with an American-made, laser-guided, smart bomb and killed 40 children. Not a word of criticism out of the Congress or even the White House. With the blessings of Congress, even more smart bombs are being sold to the Saudi despots.
Meanwhile organizations such as Open Doors, the Religious Freedom Coalition, and many others including those of church denominations are doing their best to help Christians in Iraq and Syria settle back into something like a normal life.
It is not easy: In the Kurdish area of Syria the Christian schools have been shut down. The Kurds, with the help of American air power and thousand of special forces at seven American military bases, control 30% of Syria. It is the same 30% where the Assyrian Christians have lived for nearly two thousand years.
The Kurds, with permission of the United States, are not only closing Christian schools, but forcing the Arabs and Assyrians there to speak and learn Kurdish. The Kurds are not even the majority in the areas they hold in Syria — they are Sunni Muslims.
The reality on the ground in Iraq and Syria does not mean we give in on Capitol Hill. The original House language defined Christians who were targeted by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda as victims of genocide and would have given them assistance including immigration priority. We need to go back to that … Worst case scenario is this: At the end of the year when the current 115th Congress comes to an end, we will have to start over again in the 116th Congress, with a new bill in the House. But with Senator Corker gone we may finally succeed.
Please pray that we can finally get some action on HR-390 to help Christian refugees. And please pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria who are still in great need. Meanwhile our Christmas, diaper, and other programs will do what can be done to help. Please pray for the safety of those who administer our programs in those nations.
William J. Murray, Chairman
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