The Catholic Archbishop of Erbil has denounced the hypocrisy of those protesting President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration, wondering aloud where all of the demonstrators were when Islamic State fighters were slaughtering Christians and other minorities in the Middle East.
In an interview with the online journal Crux, Archbishop Bashar Warda said that from his perspective in Iraq, he couldn’t help but ask “why all of these protesters were not protesting in the streets when ISIS came to kill Christians and Yazidis and other minority groups.”
Warda also criticized the policies of the Obama administration, which offered no financial assistance to displaced Christians in Islamic State territory and instead favored Syrian Muslims when it came to accepting refugees into the United States.
“They were not protesting when the tens of thousands of displaced Christians my archdiocese has cared for since 2014 received no financial assistance from the U.S. government or the U.N.,” he said. “There were no protests when Syrian Christians were only let in at a rate that was 20 times less than the percentage of their population in Syria.”
“I do not understand why some Americans are now upset that the many minority communities that faced a horrible genocide will finally get a degree of priority in some manner,” Warda added.
The archbishop also suggested that the inconvenience posed by a three-month moratorium on visas is nothing compared to the suffering of minorities in Iraq and Syria during the past several years, and yet no one seemed to think that was worthy of a protest.
“Most Americans have no concept of what it was like to live as a Yazidi or Christian or other minority as ISIS invaded,” he said. “Our people had the option to flee, to convert, or to be killed, and many were killed in the most brutal ways imaginable.”
“But there were none of these protests then of ISIS’s religious test,” he said.
In his lengthy interview, Warda underscored the hypocrisy of protesters who are willing to side with Muslims but won’t lift a finger to aid Christians facing genocide in the Middle East.
“Our people lost everything because of their faith—they were targeted for their faith, just like the Yazidis and others too,” he said. “Now these protesters are saying that religion should not matter at all, even though someone was persecuted for their faith, even though persecution based on religion is one of the grounds for refugee status in the UN treaty on refugees.”
“From here I have to say, it is really unbelievable,” he said.
Warda also blasted the careless journalists who have called the order a “Muslim ban,” noting that this label is not only false but also dangerous to Christians and other minorities living in lands dominated by Islamic terrorists.
“All those who cry out that this is a ‘Muslim Ban,’” Warda said, should understand clearly that they are hurting Christians and “putting us at greater risk.”
“Here in Iraq we Christians cannot afford to throw out words carelessly as the media in the West can do,” he added. “I would ask those in the media who use every issue to stir up division to think about this.”
“For the media, these things become an issue of ratings, but for us the danger is real,” he said.
The Archbishop said, “it is very hard for me to understand why comfortable people in the West think those who are struggling to survive against genocide, and whose communities are at extreme risk of disappearing completely, should not get some special consideration.”
“We are an ancient people on the verge of extinction because of our commitment to our faith. Will anybody protest for us?” he asked.