“Thousands of Christians and people of other religions in the Middle East face persecution daily,” said four American religious leaders in a letter to U.S. President Donald J. Trump, on November 16, 2018.
The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, joined his fellow church hierarchs Archbishop Demetrios (of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America), Archbishop Dionysius John Kawak (Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese for the Eastern U.S.), and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York) in the letter pleading for support in the “upholding of religious freedom and the preservation of pluralism and diversity” for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.
Writing as leaders of the Christian faith representing American communities with strong historic ties to the Holy Land and the Middle East, the signatories decried the ongoing “genocide and forced migration of millions … on the grounds of their religious and/or ethnic identities.”
In addition to brutality against individual human beings, the churchmen noted that “churches are being desecrated and destroyed.”
“The continuing persecution has resulted in the sharp decline of Christian presence from twenty percent in the 20th century to a mere four percent today. In Lebanon, Syria, The West Bank and Gaza, Iraq, Egypt, the Nineveh region, and other more remote places in the Middle East, Christian communities flourished with strong historical and religious roots. Mr. President, if we do not take action now, the entire population of Christians and other minorities may soon cease to exist.”
Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Demetrios, Archbishop Kawak, and Fr. Findikyan asked President Trump to address the violence and extremism that lie at the root of Christian persecution, while affirming that the problem does not call for “a battle against Islam.”
They called for increased assistance to the resulting refugees fleeing persecution, in concert with international diplomatic approaches to conflict resolution.
The four church leaders concluded their letter with a prayer “for lasting, sustainable peace in the Middle East that will promote pluralism, diversity, and religious freedom for all. And we pray for you and your thoughtful consideration of our deep concerns and painful insights.”
Click here to read the entire letter.