Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 24 June |
The Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
home iconNews
line break icon

Trump Administration orders direct aid to Christians in the Middle East

ISIS refugees

Safin Hamed | AFP

John Burger - published on 10/26/17 - updated on 10/26/17

USAID funds will be funneled through churches in region to assist genocide victims.

President Donald J. Trump has ordered the United States Agency for International Development to fund churches, agencies, and organizations working with communities that have been persecuted by the Islamic State group and other terrorist groups.

Vice President Michael R. Pence announced the move Wednesday evening in Washington, at an annual conference concerning persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

“Christians in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly,” Pence said, informing a gathering at the In Defense of Christians conference that Trump ordered the State Department to stop funding United Nations relief efforts for the affected communities. Instead, the USAID will fund the relief efforts directly. “We will no longer rely on the United Nations alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities in the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups. The United States will work hand-in-hand with faith-based groups and private organizations to help those who are persecuted for their faith.”

Critics of the UN’s relief efforts include Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. She told the National Catholic Register that the UN’s mismanagement of USAID funds has not helped Christians return, and in some cases, made it impossible. Christians will not return to the town of Telkayf, for example, because the UN Development Program “resettled the extended families of ISIS there.”

“The Christians are terrified to return now,” she said.

“This is good news and we want to thank President Trump, Vice President Pence, and all those who have been working diligently on this issue” said former congressman Frank Wolf, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. “This should impact humanitarian aid for those living as Internally Displaced Persons and refugees and stabilization assistance for the Christians and Yezidis returning to areas seized from them by ISIS.”

The Wilberforce Initiative, which advocates for religious freedom, pointed out that the safe return of Christians and Yezidis to their homes in Iraq has direct national security impact on the U.S. and its allies in Europe, as well as Israel. “Based on the directive issued today from the White House, the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) can now structure assistance in a way that is responsive to these genocide victims’ unique circumstances,” the organization said in a statement.

Also applauding the move was the Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “For almost two years, the K of C has warned that Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East have been falling through the cracks in the aid system, and has been urging the United States government to provide aid directly to genocide-targeted communities,” Anderson said in a statement. “We are pleased that tonight, the administration has promised to do just that.”

Christians in the Middle East
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Philip Kosloski
Prayers to be said at the elevation of the host at Mass
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
Theresa Civantos Barber
Celebrate “summer Christmas” with these 5 traditions ...
Cecilia Zinicola
The best method for transforming annoyance and frustration
John Burger
Parents of Amazon CEO donate $12 million to Catholic school
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.