[guest post by Dana]
On the heels of the administration’s plans to fast track the entry of Syrian refugees to the U.S., President Obama said after meeting with a group of Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar:
“As long as I’m president, we’re going to keep on stepping up and making sure that America remains as it has always been, a place where people who, in other parts of the world, are subject to discrimination or violence, that they have in America a friend and a place of refuge,” Mr. Obama said. “We have shown that the we can welcome refugees and ensure our security – that there’s no contradiction.”
“When we talk about American leadership, American leadership is us caring about people who have been forgotten or who have been discriminated against or who’ve been tortured or who’ve been subject to unspeakable violence or who’ve been separated from families at very young ages,” he said Saturday.
“That’s when we’re the shining light on the hill,” he said. “Not when we respond on the basis of fear.”
In spite of the president’s claims, 27 Iraqi Christians, who fled their homeland because of religious persecution and crossed into the U.S. from Mexico to join their families already settled in the San Diego area, are finding America anything but a friend and place of refuge:
A total of 27 Chaldean Christians, driven from their homeland by Al Qaeda and ISIS, entered the country in April and May, hoping to join the thriving Iraqi Christian community in and around San Diego. But the door to America is being slammed on the 17 men and 10 women over what their supporters say are technicalities.
“These are families who were split up because of religious persecution, and now the government – which we love – is preventing them from being reunited,” said Fr. Michael Bazzi, of St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral, in El Cajon. “We wonder why, for thousands of Muslims, the door is open to America, yet Christians are not allowed to come.”
It is being reported that because two applicants (no confirmation that they were part of this group of 27) were not forthcoming on their applications, the whole group is being denied refuge in the U.S.:
[B]ecause some had first gone to Germany before making their way to the border, and in some cases were deemed to not have been forthcoming about it on their applications for religious asylum, they were held at the Otay Detention Center in San Diego since entering the U.S. while their applications were considered. So far, 22 have been ordered out of the U.S. and the other five are awaiting a likely similar ruling.
“We will continue to seek to remove the ones who have been ordered removed,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack told FoxNews.com.
Earlier this year, 60 Minutes did a segment about the persecution of Christians in Iraq. There was this exchange between Lara Logan and Archbishop Nicodemus Sharaf of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Mosul, and one of the 125,000 Christians forced to flee after ISIS overran the city:
Archbishop Nicodemus Sharaf: [T]his is the first time we cannot pray in our churches.
As it seeks to erase Christianity from the landscape, the Islamic state allows no Christian symbols.
Just like the Nazis marked the property of Jews, Christian homes in Mosul have been marked with this red symbol. It’s the Arabic letter N – for Nasara – an early Islamic term for Christians. When ISIS puts it on your home, you either convert to Islam, pay an extortion tax or face the sword.
It has become a convert to Islam or die choice for the Christian in Iraq:
Issah Al Qurain is one of tens of thousands who had to make that choice. He was at home with his family in the Christian village where he’d lived all his life, when ISIS fighters came looking for him. He told us the fighters first took all his money – then his wife and children.
Lara Logan: They were telling you convert, convert, convert?
Issah Al Qurain (translated): Yes, convert. In the beginning, I refused. I told them I was Christian and I had my religion and they had their religion. But they told me, if you don’t convert, we will kill you and take your wife and children.
An Iraqi Christian now residing in Australia, was unhesitating in his assessment about the future of Christians in Iraq:
Lara Logan: What do you think the Islamic State intends to do with the Christians here?
Khamis: To wipe them out. To be nothing. No place left that bears the name of Christian or Christianity.
NRO’s Andy McCarthy noted about the Christian refugees:
“If the particular security threat you are concerned about is jihadist terror, there are no Christian jihadist terrorists[.]
Christians in Iraq are now estimated to number less than 200,000 compared to 1,500,000 just 12 years ago.