Since 2003, Americans have been encouraged to pray for Iraq. But after another display of barbarism by the Islamic State militants I realize I’ve grown tired of praying for Iraq.
Now is the time to act.
Do you realize that the Islamic State militants (also known as ISIS) is a terrorist army with an estimated 80,000 fighters? (30,000 in Iraq and 50,000 in Syria). They were once closely affiliated with al-Qaeda but al-Qaeda has recently cut all ties with ISIS because it is too brutal.
‘Brutal’ is hardly the word for it. Savage, barbaric, and animalistic is a little bit more accurate.
Not only is ISIS responsible for the deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent people (many of them religious and ethnic minorities), but they photograph and record these brutal murders and post them on social media.
To put it simply, what is happening in Iraq is ethnic cleansing—genocide.
The Yazidi are a group of religious minorities that have been targeted by ISIS. Unable to defend themselves, the Yazidi fled to the safety of Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. In an attempt to defend the Yazidi, President Obama ordered humanitarian airdrops to the Yazidi, and authorized a number of airstrikes against the Islamic State. The airstrikes allowed a number of Yazidi to escape the mountain, but thousands remain—trapped on a mountain that is 130 degrees during the day, and sub-zero temperatures at night.
In spite of this, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said “The Yazidis who remain are in better condition than previously believed and continue to have access to the food and water that we have dropped.”
But relatives of those still trapped on the mountain strongly disagree. On Monday, I had the chance to interview Lucy Usoyan, a Yazidi activist living in America. She described the situation in northern Iraq, shared a harrowing account of ISIS killing a pregnant, Yazidi woman, and tearfully asked for the U.S. to intervene and rescue her people.
In seeing all of this violence, I have grown tired of praying for Iraq. It’s time for us to do something. I know that we are all war-weary, but please do not turn a blind eye to the brutal slaying of thousands. Continue to pray for Iraq, but then get up and do something about it. Share this story. Write about what’s happening. Take action! Never underestimate the force of your own voice.
Please watch my interview with Lucy and decide what you can do to help.
The Yazidi people are not comfortable—it is America that is comfortable. We must respond with more humanitarian aid and we must rescue the thousands of Yazidi people still trapped on Mount Sinjar.