U.S. President Donald Trump directed the State Department to pull funding from “ineffective” programs run by the United Nations to help persecuted and displaced religious minority communities in the Middle East and use the money instead to fund programs run directly by the U.S., faith-based groups and private organizations.
The announcement was made by Vice-President Mike Pence, who also said he was directed by the president to travel to the Middle East in December, Fox News reported.
“The move is being made to help persecuted Christian and minority groups in the region who have been devastated by Islamic State (ISIS). Pence said the U.N. has “too often failed to help the most vulnerable communities, especially religious minorities.”
“From this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development],” Pence said, in a keynote speech at In Defense of Christians’ annual solidarity dinner for Christians in the Middle East. “Our fellow Christians and all who are persecuted in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly.”
Pence noted the “unprecedented assault” that Christianity has faced from Islamic State – specifically “in those ancient lands where it first grew.”
He also pledged to help Christians and other persecuted minority groups who have been devastated by ISIS to “reclaim their lands, return to their homes, rebuild their lives and replant the roots in their ancient place of birth.”
Pence’s announcement follows the news last week of just one of the many atrocities the perpetrated against Christians in the Middle East.
Dozens of people, including women and children, were discovered slaughtered by ISIS in the predominately Christian town of Qaryatayn by Syrian government troops who recaptured the town October 21.
“These are people who don’t know God, they don’t know anything. They killed children and women with knives, they beat women, broke their arms,” said one man said, speaking to The Christian Post on the condition of anonymity.
Speaking to Reuters, Homs province Governor Talal Barazi said, “More than 60 were dead, while more than 100 others are missing, either kidnapped or killed.”
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that at least 128 people had been killed by ISIS, with most of the bodies dumped in farms and ditches.
Watch the trailer for Clarion Project’s latest film, Faithkeepers, about the violent persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. The film features exclusive footage and testimonials of Christians, Baha’i, Yazidis, Jews, and other minority refugees, and a historical context of the persecution in the region.