(CNSNews.com) - Open Doors, an international ministry that helps persecuted Christians, is comparing the violence in Iraq to what happened in Rwanda years ago, when 800,000 men, women, and children were killed in unchecked violence.
“What is unfolding is the worst genocide since Rwanda 20 years ago,” said Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. David Curry. “We cannot allow this to happen on our watch.”
Open Doors is working with churches and partner organizations to help Christians and others forced to flee by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant violence and its convert-or-die threats.
Curry said Thursday the organization is helping more than 2,000 families in 21 villages in northern Iraq, providing emergency supplies including food, water, blankets and medicine. He called on churches to pray and to donate to keep the aid flowing in the coming weeks and months.
A special envoy dispatched by Pope Francis, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, held talks with Kurdish government officials in Erbil, thanking them on behalf of the pope for the help given to Iraqi Christians and other minorities who are seeking shelter in the autonomous region.
Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani told the Vatican delegation that ISIS now has fighters from around the world, and the international community should therefore confront the jihadists.
“Both sides agreed upon the importance of international protection for all ethnic and religious communities native to the Ninevah plains” the Kurdish government said in a readout of the meeting.
“Both parties agreed to exert international pressure to facilitate the creation of such an international protection force.”
Pope Francis wrote this week to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, urging the international community “to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities” in Iraq.
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue issued a statement on Tuesday, decrying the jihadists’ persecution of Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in Iraq and declaring that “no cause, and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity.”