Christians in Middle East could be wiped out by 'indifference' warns expert

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson at the 122nd Annual Knights of Columbus convetion in Dallas, with former US President George W Bush.Jason Reed/Reuters

Christian survivors of Islamic State atrocities in the Middle East now face "genocide by attrition" according to a leading expert on the subject.

Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Christian service organisation Knights of Columbus, has warned that many survivors "now live as refugees who cannot find employment or housing or adequate medical care or clothing or education for their children."

The world cannot remain silent or indifferent to their plight, he said.

"A genocide that some began by the sword cannot be allowed to succeed through indifference," he said, according to a Crux Now report.

Anderson was one of three people to be honoured by the non-profit advocacy group In Defense of Christians for their work in helping convince the US government to declare the Islamic State atrocities as "genocide" against Christians, Yazidis and other minorities.

Solidarity Awards were also presented to Anna Eshoo and Jeff Fortenberry for sponsoring the resolution that passed the US House of Representatives in March.  

Anderson and In Defense of Christians had presented the influential  report on "Genocide against Christians in the Middle East" to Secretary of State John Kerry just days before the declaration.

The report detailed killings, rapes, torture, kidnappings, bombings and the destruction of religious property and monuments. Those interviewed showed "great strength" and heroism, the report says.

One example was Khalia, a woman in her fifties, who was captured and held hostage along with 47 others. During her 15 days in captivity, she rebuffed demands to convert, despite a gun being put to her head and a sword to her neck. She literally fought off IS militants as they tried to rape girls, and again later when they tried to take a 9-year-old as a bride.

The report found that murder of Christians was commonplace, with many killed in front of their own families.

Anderson said he accepted the award "on behalf of those Christians in the Middle East who have lost everything - except their faith." 

He said their everyday heroism represented a "triumph of faith, hope and love" that should inspire people of faith, and of no faith, around the world.