Friday, August 29, 2014

"Reverse Jihad" taking shape against the Islamic State

After turning the other cheek for far too long, Christians and others are taking up arms.  It's not a perfect response but it is justifiable and reasonable, considering the urgency with which the Islamic State wants to eliminate Christians.

This is good news, and Obama would do well to send arms and support to these embattled believers.

From The Gospel Herald August 28 by  Don Pittman

Calling It a 'Reverse Jihad,' Iraqi and Foreign Christians Join Fight Against Islamic State

Some Christian groups in northern Iraq say they have had enough of being struck down like helpless victims and are tired of being chased from a place where they consider themselves to be the original inhabitants; they have decided to take up arms to defend the home their people have known for over 2,000 years.

National Geographic reports that, According to officials with the Assyrian Patriotic Party, which is one of several Assyrian political organizations in Iraq that is made up of mostly Christians, 40 armed members have been sent to join the Kurdish Peshmerga, the official security force of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the strongest fighting force in Northern Iraq that is taking on the Islamic State.

The Christian group has shed its historically passive nature because the ruthless Islamic State has so severely brutalized all who stand in its way.

Earlier this month, the president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Massud Barzani, announced that his government was ready to open its doors to Christian volunteers among the Kurdish armed forces by providing them with the means to create self-defense forces in their villages and defend themselves from jihadi militias of the Islamic State, Fides Agency reported.

Henry Sarkis, 44, the newly appointed branch chief for the Assyrian Patriotic Party in the area, calls the group of 40 from his party the "first wave", and they have adopted the name Dukha, which means "sacrifice'. "We keep talking about Jesus and peace, and now we've reached the point where it's not enough," he said in an interview at his party's headquarters in Dahuk. "The age of waiting for the Peshmerga to take back territory while we sit is over. We took the decision that, with our limited abilities, we will try to participate." 

The shift in ideals for Christians, who have been viewed as helpless victims in the past, may make the Iraqi Christians more of a target, some believe, but Sarkis, however, isn't worried as he believes standing up to fight is better than laying down and dying. "We're being killed in our homes, so why not defend ourselves? Then even if we die, we die with dignity," he said. "We didn't want to reach this point - we just want to live in our areas."

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