The executions, persecution and uprooting of ancient religious communities in the Middle East are on-going human rights tragedies, which our world leaders have largely ignored.
Christian churches and sites of historic and religious antiquity in the Middle East have a long and noble history. The region was once the cradle of the Christian faith. Even as recently as 100 years ago, some 20% of the peoples of the Middle East were still Christian. But today, many fear these proud and resilient religious communities may soon disappear from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, North and Central Africa and throughout the region, in the face of new, Islamic extremists.
Yet, the world has been mostly silent on this pressing issue. World leaders have simply not spoken out in behalf of these, who are being persecuted and even butchered for their faith.
These Jihadist atrocities against religious minorities deserve our utmost concern and contempt. But they also deserve immediate and heightened attention, by our present and prospective leaders.
In the face of such religious violence and intolerance, will the U.S. presidential candidates—of either party—stand up and speak out in behalf of these religious minorities?
A revealing test of moral leadership right now, among the nearly 20 presidential candidates, may be who will take up the cause of the persecuted and make it a priority issue in these critical times. Let this be a discerning topic for questioning at the presidential debates, of both parties!