This week the international faith community ramped up concern and activism about the plight of religious minorities in Iraq as Islamic State militants continued their brutal offensive against Christians, members of the ancient Yazidi sect and others. More than 50 American religious leaders and academics issued a statement calling on President Obama to take stronger military action to protect the minorities from what they called this campaign of genocide. They said quote, “nothing short of the destruction of ISIS as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.” Pope Francis wrote to the United Nations urging all its agencies to do everything they can to help, although he did not explicitly mention military force. A papal envoy, Cardinal Fernando Filoni arrived in Iraq Wednesday and met with Christian refugees in makeshift camps. Tens of thousands have been forced from their homes, and many have no shelter from the sweltering heat. Churches and Yazidi temples are filled with refugees, and religious workers say there isn’t enough food, medicine or supplies to care for them. One nun wrote in an email, “It’s a heartbreaking disaster.” Here in the US, Muslim groups repeated their condemnation of ISIS’s actions, calling them un-Islamic and morally repugnant.
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