Genocide of Iraqi Christians: Catholic leader calls on U.S. to help as ISIS drives Christians out of Mosul

Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III YounanWikimedia

His Beatitude Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan called on the U.S. last week to intervene on behalf of persecuted Iraqi Christians.

Younan said that the United States should combat the terrorist regime known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which increased in power substantially after the U.S. withdrew from Iraq in 2011.

In spite of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands being forced to leave their homes in recent weeks, Ignatius Younan said the West has turned a blind eye to the travesties taking place in Iraq and Syria.

"We are so saddened that the civilized world doesn't really care," he told Sirius XM host Father Jonathan Morris. "Surely there are other dramatic problems — wars around us in the Middle East... Gaza or Syria but here it's ... genocide ... just because they are Christians."

Younan said the U.S. in particular should defend the persecuted civilians.

"I think that the legacy of the U.S. is to always be the defender of liberty and all minorities," he said. "Those who have the responsibility to lead this great nation, they have to think seriously about what to do to defend the defenseless and marginalized."

The Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch also appealed to American Christians to intercede for the religious minorities in the Middle East.

"We have to stand up for the cause of the Lord Jesus who is the prince of peace of love," Younan said. "We have to stand up and tell those who represent us to be faithful to the principles on which [America] nation was founded ... the freedom of conscience, the basic rights of human beings and not to be comprising our principles."

He also compared the Iraq crisis to Jesus sleeping in a boat during a storm while his disciples panicked, a story found in Mark 4: 35-41.

"The gospel says that [Jesus] ordered the storm to be calmed and therefore we will keep that hope that the Lord Jesus [will help]," Younan said. "Although it seems like He's still sleeping in defending the right of Christians ... we keep the hope."