Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Iraq in Crisis | MidPoint | christian | relief | isis

Christian Aid Official: Iraqi Leadership Wants US to Do More

Monday, 11 Aug 2014 03:36 PM

By Courtney Coren

Juliana Taimoorazy, president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, says the "leadership in Iraq" hopes airstrikes that the U.S. has launched in the country help in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and don't just focus "on the U.S. interests around Erbil."

"They want to eliminate ISIS," Taimoorazy told Ed Berliner on "MidPoint" on Newsmax TV Monday. "So the leadership in Iraq is asking America to be more aggressive with these airstrikes."

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"ISIS wants to create a Caliphate in Iraq," she explained. "It has done so. It has done so in the northern part of Syria, and they have reached the shores of Lebanon and today the report said that they actually seized a small town close to the Iranian and Iraqi border."

"This is not only going to be contained in Iraq or Syria, and it's going to be a worldwide problem," she added. "It's not an American problem, it's not an Iraqi problem, it is a worldwide problem."

Taimoorazy says that the reports of Christians being slaughtered are accurate and that Christians have been facing persecution there has since about 2003.

"These are happening in Syria as well as in Iraq," she said.

"This is nothing new for Iraqi Christians in Iraq," she explained. "Iraqi Christians are the Syrians of the land; we're the indigenous people of that land."

"This has been going on since 2003, but, unfortunately, or fortunately, now, it's getting some traction now," Taimoorazy said.

"The crucifixions that have happened, they are accurate," she added.

"ISIS gives the Iraqi Christians three options: you convert to Islam, you pay Jesia, which is a protection tax that non-Muslims have to pay during war, or leave," she said. "And if they refuse to leave, this is their fate. They are killed."

Taimoorazy is an Assyrian Christian, who was born in Tehran, Iran in 1973. She escaped Iran in 1989 due to religious persecution and received a visa to enter the United States a year later. She created the Iraqi Christian Relief Council in 2009.

According to reports, "between five to 10 families have converted to Islam in Mosul and those are the only former Christians who are left in that city," she explained.

"A lot of them are people who are elderly and they're unable to leave or they have wanted to really keep what they've worked for all their lives," she said.

"But a majority of people don't even want to fake it," she added. "They'd rather be homeless, live in parks and open areas than convert to Islam."

According to Taimoorazy, "prior to 2003 we had about 1.5, 1.6 [million] Syrian Christians living in Iraq. Today we have less than 400,000 left, 200,000 of whom are IDPs, internally displaced persons."

"Over 1 million people have become homeless because of these atrocities," she explained.

But she said that Christian persecution has "absolutely" gotten worse since ISIS has become more powerful.

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