Christianity

Want to save Iraqi Christians? Try Christiansatrisk.org

John Moody

Three years ago this week, when ISIS rolled into the town of Karamdes, home to several hundred families of Iraqi Christians, the first thing its thugs did was behead every statue of a saint. Next they destroyed the churches. Then they went after civilians.

The sacking of Karamdes by maniacal Islamic terrorists, in the Nineveh plains, forced most of its 3,500 or so residents to flee 50 miles across the desert to Erbil, where they found temporary shelter.

Those who didn’t get out in time were given a stark choice: convert to Islam or die. Fortunately, most of them fled before ISIS could carry out its threat.

Fr. Thabet Habib, a Chaldean priest in Karamdes, described the destruction of churches, the desecration of graveyards, the exhumation of the bodies of priests and others, and the air of terror that ISIS brought with it.

Now that ISIS has been driven out of the Nineveh area, its Chaldean and Syriac Christian populations want to return home. The problem is, their town, and its places of Christian worship, have been decimated.

Now that ISIS has been driven out of the Nineveh area, its Chaldean and Syriac Christian populations want to return home. The problem is, their town, and its places of Christian worship, have been decimated.

And while the U.S. Congress recently earmarked funds to aid religious minorities in the Middle East, so far, none of that money has reached Karamdes.

Enter the Knights of Columbus, the Connecticut-based Catholic charitable organization that helps Christians in need around the world. “It costs $2,000 to make an ISIS-damaged home habitable and move a family back in,” Andrew Walther, the vice president of the K of C, told me. “Our goal is to get several hundred families rehoused by the end of August.”

“ISIS may have been defeated militarily, but ISIS’s goal is the de-Christianization of Iraq,” says Walther. “It’s important that these ancient communities survive. If they don’t, even though ISIS has been driven out, they will have won ideologically.”

The Knights’ CEO, Carl Anderson, is asking church groups and individuals to help make this initiative come to life for the people of Karamdes. The Knights of Columbus takes no administrative fees.

If helping Christianity stay alive in Iraq appeals to you, visit Christiansatrisk.org and make a donation.

John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Rome bureau chief for Time magazine, he is the author of four books including "Pope John Paul II : Biography."