WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Trump administration announced this week that it would address the needs of the Middle East's Christian community by providing assistance directly, bypassing UN aid programs which have been largely ineffective in helping displaced Christians affected by ISIS.
The announcement came as Vice President Pence spoke to a gathering addressing persecution of Christians:
"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. And tonight, it is my privilege to announce that President Trump has ordered the State Department to stop funding ineffective relief efforts at the United Nations. And from this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID."
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins remarked:
"The Trump administration announcement is welcomed news to families and individuals in the Middle East who have lost their homes, their jobs and even friends and family at the hands of ISIS. I commend the president for following through on his promise to protect religious freedom by ensuring that the vulnerable among us are not targeted because of their religion, and are able to rebuild their lives and freely live out their faith in their ancestral homelands. I look forward to seeing the needs of these communities met on the ground, and stand ready to assist the president in making this happen. In the Middle East and elsewhere, America must do more to ensure that the human right of freedom of religion is cherished the world over," noted Perkins.
Travis Weber, Family Research Council's Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, also commented on the Trump administration's plan:
"While our attention has been riveted by stories of ISIS's defeat, the Christian communities left devastated in its wake will still need to rebuild and attempt to move on with their lives. For too long, the persecuted Christians of the Middle East--lacking political power and overlooked in the eyes of the world--have not received proper assistance in returning to their ancestral lands, the same lands the first Christians walked nearly 2,000 years ago. Meanwhile, Iran and other power players are trying to come in and ply their influence in the vacuum created by ISIS's defeat. It is in these situations that protecting the freedom of religion--and inculcating society with a true understanding of this right--is most critical," observed Weber.