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Iraqi-American Christians Fear for Lives of Family and Friends in Home Country

By Carrie Dedrick

Americans of Iraqi descent are speaking out about the crisis in Iraq, as friends and family members remaining in the nation are at risk of persecution. Islamic State (IS) militants have wreaked havoc across Iraq; reports say that the terrorist organization is systematically killing Christians in a mass genocide. 
 
"There's no future for Christians in Iraq anymore," said Bashar Bakoz, an immigrant who now resides in Detroit. 
 
Michigan is home to 64,000 Iraqi-Americans, most of which are Christians. Many of those who have immigrated have friends and family in danger. 
 
Michigan immigrant Auday Arabo said, "It's like the modern-day holocaust...It's Christian genocide. It's ethnic cleansing."
 
Rev. Manuel Boji, an Iraqi-American pastor fears that Christianity will be wiped out altogether at the hands of IS. "They're picking on the most vulnerable. You can see the extinction of Christianity in the region on the horizon,” he said.
 
A group of eight Americans of Iraqi descent met with Ben Rhodes, an aide of President Obama to discuss the situation. After the meeting the White House released a statement saying “The United States remains committed to helping all of Iraq's diverse communities, including Christians, Sabean-Mandaeans, Shabak and Yezidis.” 
 
Despite the statement, IS militants continue to terrorize Christians, as well as other religious minorities in the region. 
 
“The evil is spreading,” Arabo said.

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