In the aftermath of the Islamic State, Christians who are trickling back to Iraq are left to rebuild their lives from the ruins, and Church leaders there are yearning for help. Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda, and Vice President Mike Pence have opened a "substantial discussion" to determine how the United States can aid in the rebuilding.
“The reality is we cannot stay without the U.S. or the U.N. helping to protect Nineveh directly,” Father Afram al-Khoury Benyamen, pastor of St. George Cathedral, told Fox News. “With international protection maybe we can remain, but if it doesn’t come soon... we go.”
Father Afram pleas for financial aid, acknowledging the lack of aid from the Iraqi government. "We are the original people, the indigenous people here in Iraq and the government should want us to stay. Instead, there is nothing."
"Despite receiving millions in help from charities and a $2 million grant from the Hungarian government, Warda warned at the press conference that the Iraqi government's recent air ban on Iraqi Kurdistan has negatively impacted humanitarian efforts in the region," reports The Christian Post.
In the determination to help Christians struggling to live in their own homes in Iraq, Mike Pence met with Archbishop Warda, who has aided countless thousands of Christians in Iraq who fled and found nowhere to go. Warda remarked in a recent press conference that he is "grateful to the Trump administration. Vice President Pence's remarks last month about helping the communities targeted for genocide was incredibly [heart-warming] for the Christians and Yazidis in Iraq... It shows that the American government considers the situation of those who suffer this persecution at the hands of ISIS to be a priority."
According to The Christian Post, Mike Pence will head to the Middle East later in December to "discuss U.S. plans to accelerate funding those impacted in the region."