ISIS executes 3 Assyrian Christians but apparently no one cares
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Months after kidnapping over 250 Assyrian Christians, ISIS recently released a graphic video where three Christians were forced to state their names and admit they were Christians before being executed. Despite the sickening act, few have heard of the video - which was released last week. Why is that?
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The International Business Times reported ISIS' new video featured the execution of three Assyrian Christian men following the demand of a $14 million ransom in exchange for the remaining 280 Syrians currently held hostage.
The three men ISIS executed identified themselves as Abdel-Maseeh Aniyah of Tal Jazirah (Al-Hasakah), Ashur Rustam Abraham of Tal Jazirah and Bassam Issa Michael from Tal Shamiram (Al-Jazirah). It is at this point that an ISIS fighter appears and claims the church is to blame for failing to protect the men.
Three ISIS executioners appear, one behind each each man, and together they open fire. The video then focuses on a ransom demand AlmasdarNews.com translated to say, "...the terrorist group threatens to execute the remaining 280 captives if a of a $50,000 per hostage is not paid to them in the coming weeks; this monetary demand aggregates to $14 million (U.S.) in order to release the prisoners."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported one of the three men said "there are dozens of us, our destiny is the same like those men if you do not take appropriate action to release us, help us from the inevitable fate" before he was shot.
The hostages were originally abducted in February, when ISIS fighters attacked 35 Al Hasakah province villages across northern Syria.
A Demand for Action (ADFA), a non-profit organization working to protect Assyrians and other minorities, released a press statement, condemning the "latest act of barbarism" against Christians.
Diana Yaqco, a spokeswoman for ADFA, said, "We plea and beg of the international community to intervene immediately. We have been driven out of our ancestral lands. We have been killed and crucified. The international community must act now to save lives of others kidnapped."
Nahren Anweya, US-based Assyrian activist, told IB Times India the executions were two-weeks-old and since the initial video, several people -including children - have been executed. "Despite the negotiations, Isis has been relentless in its persecution of Christians in Syria," Anweya said. She also asked the international community to begin "special operations" to free the hostages as soon as possible.
"It is extremely critical that special operations heads in immediately and frees these indigenous Christian people before they're all executed," she said.
The Christian Post reports the three hostages wereexecuted after their ransoms were not paid last month. The men were from Tal Jazirah and Tal Shamiram in the Khabur river valley in northern Syria. Yaqco wrote, "The terrorist group ISIS has published a video of brutal executions of three Assyrian men that were kidnapped in February earlier this year. Since the kidnappings, the negotiations were carried out with the best abilities. We condemn this latest act of barbarism in the strongest possible terms. The sytematic ethno-religious cleansing of Assyrians/Syriacs/Chaldeans continues. They are helpless. They are children. They are women. They are somebody's father and brother."
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Twenty-two hostages were released in August following what SOHR says included "tireless efforts and negotiations by the Assyrian Church of the East in the city of Hasakeh."
Bishop Yatron Koliana of the Assyrian Church of the East in Beirut described the Assyrian situation amid the Syrian civil war:
"My personal sources say there are about 15,000 families left in Syria. Of course, they do not live in the villages captured by militants, but were able to temporarily relocate to nearby towns ... We very much hope that countries such as Russia and the United States will hear our call for help from their Christian brothers in the Middle East."
Though U.S. and Russian aircraft have been targeting ISIS strongholds lately, Christian persecution has fallen from the media and has been buried beneath other topics. Why is this?
FoxNews reporter Johnnie Moore claims the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities have gone unnoticed due to "a prevailing sense of denial in Washington that Christians are particularly threatened."
He goes as far as to claim the United States government has hardly attempted -if attempts were made at all - to provide "special treatment to Syrian and Iraqi Christians who are endangered by the threat of total extinction."
Mark Arabo, a Chaldean community leader, issued a statement echoing Moore's claim:
"It breaks my heart to see the continuous bloodshed, and the constant persecution of Christians by ISIS. Scholars, journalists, and the American public are in consensus that more must be done to end this genocide. Yet, our government continues to remain inactive. Every video is yet another reminder of the victims our government has left to rot in Iraq and Syria.
Last month, a resolution was introduced into Congress, House Concurrent Resolution. 75, which calls US lawmakers to officially recognize ISIS crimes against minorities as crimes of "genocide."
In Defense of Christians Executive Director Kirsten Evans released a statement calling for "[s]wift moral leaderships ... at all levels of the international community."
"The international community can no longer drag its feet while ancient and peaceful communities in the Middle East face an existential crisis of genocidal proportion ... It is time to stop the Christian genocide."
We couldn't agree more.
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