The Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, has launched a massive nationwide advertising campaign to spread awareness and raise funds for the plight of Middle East Christians as they are persecuted by the Islamic State terror group.
“We must act and act quickly if Christianity is to survive in the Middle East,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus. “Three years after ISIS rolled through their country, these minority communities of Christians could face extinction without our help, and if they disappear, the chance for a pluralism and tolerance of minorities will be increasingly lost in that country.”
Iraq’s Christian population has fallen from 1.5 million in 2003 to 200,000 today, according to the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, which cares for 12,000 displaced Christian families and faces a budget shortfall of $600,000 per month for food aid. Iraqi-Christian leaders have warned that without assistance, the country’s ancient Christian community could completely disappear.
While many Christian towns in Iraq have been recently liberated, refugees have not been able to return home due to a lack of funds for reconstruction and security.
“We face a serious shortfall in the money needed just to cover the costs of providing food to the displaced Christians in our care,” said Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil Bashar Warda. “Having to decide between rebuilding homes and feeding the displaced is not a choice. It is a potential death sentence for our Christian communities.”