Catholic World News - July 23, 2015
The New York Times has published a lengthy story on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
"The front line against ISIS in Northern Iraq is marked by an earthen berm that runs for hundreds of miles over the Nineveh Plain," the paper reported. "A string of Christian towns now stands empty, and the Kurdish forces occupy what, for thousands of years, was Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac land ... Even if ISIS is defeated, the fate of religious minorities in Syria and Iraq remains bleak."
The article's analysis includes criticisms of both the Bush and Obama administrations:
In 2007, when Al Qaeda was kidnapping and killing priests in Mosul, Nina Shea, who was then a U.S. commissioner for religious freedom, says she approached the secretary of state at the time, Condoleezza Rice, who told her the United States didn’t intervene in ‘‘sectarian’’ issues ...
More recently, the White House has been criticized for eschewing the term ‘‘Christian’’ altogether ... When ISIS massacred Egyptian Copts in Libya this winter, the State Department came under fire for referring to the victims merely as ‘‘Egyptian citizens.’’ Daniel Philpott, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, says, ‘‘When ISIS is no longer said to have religious motivations nor the minorities it attacks to have religious identities, the Obama administration’s caution about religion becomes excessive.’’