A coalition of leaders from the United States and several European nations is dedicated to seeking justice for the radical Islamist militants who enslaved and murdered Christians in Iraq. A recent conference held in Erbil, Iraq, by the “United Nations Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL” aimed to identify ISIS militants responsible for these heinous crimes, mainly targeting Christians in the region over the past few years.
Since the mid-2000s, American troops have been present in Iraq, witnessing the extreme persecution of Christians at the hands of Muslims in power. Christians have been forcefully displaced from their homes, subjected to persecution, and even brutally murdered. The Christian population, estimated to be between 160,000 and 250,000, sought refuge in the mountainous Kurdish regions of northern Iraq to escape the deadly persecution inflicted by ISIS following the departure of most U.S. troops in 2011. Shockingly, just two decades ago, the Iraqi Christian population was estimated at 1.5 million.
The conference brought together Christian leaders who were commended by Christian Ritscher, a U.N. special adviser, for their togetherness and resilience. He expressed admiration not only from the Christian community in Iraq but also from the entire UNITAD team, emphasizing the core principle of equality among all victims. As investigations proceed, individual cases are being built against those responsible for the reign of abuse that included targeting churches, monasteries, cemeteries, Christian symbols, and even archaeological sites. The identities of these ISIS members have been confirmed through testimonial evidence, internal documents, and case files obtained through the Iraqi judiciary.
During the conference, Safeen Dizayee, of the Kurdistan Regional Government, emphasized that Christians are the indigenous people of Iraq and must continue to live with dignity and security. The importance of preserving the Christian community in Iraq cannot be overstated, as Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda, warned about the imminent extinction of Christianity in the country. His poignant question regarding whether an ancient, peaceful people should be allowed to perish without objection resonates deeply in our modern times. His objection lies in the fact that one faith should not have the right to kill another.
In 2022, the American military reported that 886 ISIS terrorists were eliminated during anti-terrorism operations in Iraq and Syria. However, the coalition’s efforts go beyond combating immediate threats. They focus on bringing justice to the victims and survivors of ISIS’ atrocities and ensuring that the Christian population in Iraq can thrive in safety and freedom.
The quest for justice for the persecuted Iraqi Christians remains ongoing. The coalition of international leaders is determined to build strong cases against the perpetrators by meticulously gathering evidence and testimonies, holding them accountable for their crimes against humanity. By doing so, they provide hope to the survivors and ensure that such horrors will not be forgotten or left unpunished.
Moving forward, it is crucial for the international community to support these efforts and stand in solidarity with the Christians in Iraq. Acknowledging the atrocities committed and demanding justice is not only an act of compassion but also an affirmation of our commitment to human rights and religious freedom. The fight against radical Islamist terrorism is not confined to one region; it requires collective action and unwavering determination to protect and defend the values and beliefs that shape our world.