Washington, DC– January 20, 2017 – IDC congratulates President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on being sworn into office and urges their administration to make the plight of religious minorities in the Middle East a foreign policy priority for the United States.

Throughout the campaign, President Trump promised to defeat ISIS and to defend Christians across the world, particularly those facing genocide in the Middle East.
Too often Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East have not only been a secondary concern in U.S. foreign policy considerations in the region, but they have often been altogether forgotten.

Over the past decade, the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria have been torn apart by genocide, war, and terrorism. These communities have suffered profound losses–they have witnessed the destruction of their populations, properties, and churches. These communities will need assistance to rebuild and restore their homelands, and it is in the interests of the United States and international community to do so. The Syrian refugee crisis has disproportionately affected Lebanon–the nation with the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East–which is hosting more refugees proportionally than any nation in the world.

Following a year of advocacy by IDC and other organization, ISIS slaughter of minorities was labeled as genocide by President Obama, the second time in history that the US Government has used the genocide designation. The Trump administration has a tremendous opportunity to act on these words and extend American leadership at a crucial time to ensure the continued survival of the ancient ethnic and religious minorities of the Middle East.

IDC Executive Director Philippe Nassif stated: “IDC urges President Donald Trump to prioritize the protection of the ancient ethnic and religious minority communities of the Middle East, and a region in which these communities can coexist and thrive peacefully in their native lands. The Christian values of tolerance and coexistence, and the innovations that these communities have contributed to their societies for so many centuries are essential for a stable and secure Middle East, which is in the national security interests of the United States and the world.”

IDC welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with the Trump administration to advance the preservation and protection of Christians in the Middle East.

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