A Nebraska Congressman worries that violence in the Middle East threatens the existence of an ancient faith community.
“Middle Eastern Christianity is shattered and the question is how are the pieces going to be picked back up and put together again?”
It’s a question Congressman Jeff Fortenberry says America needs to answer.
Fortenberry says Christians in the Middle East have been living under persecution for some time.
It has grown worse with the emergence of the Islamic State, known also as ISIS and ISIL.
Members of the Islamic State have stolen, raped, and slaughtered their way through the Middle East, especially targeting Christian sects.
No evidence has been as chilling as the video released by the Islamic State of the beheading of more than a dozen members of the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt. The mass execution took place on a Libyan beach. Jihadists in black stood behind the victims, all dressed in orange jumpsuits with their hands bound behind them.
In the city of Mosul, in northern Iraq, the Islamic State has spray painted the letter “N” on the doors of Christian homes, a symbol of a derogatory term for Christians in the area. Christians were given a choice: pay a tax they couldn’t afford, convert to Islam, leave, or die.
Fortenberry says human rights groups can find no evidence of any Christians still living in Mosul.
Fortenberry says the violence threatens lives, but also removes a stabilizing force from the region.
“Not only is it a gross violation of human rights, but it’s a loss potentially of the stabilizing influence you need,” Fortenberry tells Nebraska Radio Network, adding that a leader of an Arab country told him something similar.
Fortenberry proposes the United States arm the Kurds in northern Iraq, so that they could establish protective zones in the country to shield Christian and other minority groups from attack.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]