US Vice President Mike Pence told a first ever World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians — organized by Franklin Graham that 215 million Christians face persecution and intimidation in the Middle East. He condemned Islamic State (IS) genocide, praising President Donald Trump for calling it “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“Nobody has been treated worse than Christians in the Middle East. The president is fully committed to bringing aid and comfort to Christians in the Middle East. President Trump will stop terrorism.”
Pence said IS is on the run and called his hearers to persevere in prayer.
The Vice President then promised that the US will bypass the United Nations and give aid directly to beleaguered Christian communities in Iraq, vowing the days of minimal support filtering down to persecuted believers “are over”.
He said the US State Department will no longer fund the UN’s “ineffective” relief efforts, and will now funnel support straight to faith-based organizations after claims from religious leaders in the Middle East that bilateral aid failed to reach people on the ground.
“Our fellow Christians and all who are persecuted in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly, and tonight, it is my privilege to announce that President Trump has ordered the State Department to stop funding ineffective relief efforts at the United Nations. From this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through [the United States Aid Agency – USAID].”
Pence attacked the UN international body for failing “to help the most vulnerable communities and leaving countless people [to] continue to suffer and struggle needlessly”.
Pence said President Barack Obama had spent more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid to the Middle East, but only sent the funding to and through various UN programs.
“Here is the sad reality. The United Nations claims that more than 160 projects are in Christian areas. But for a third of those projects, there are no Christians to help. The believers in Nineveh, Iraq have had less than two per cent of their housing needs addressed and the majority of Christians and Yazidis remain in shelters. Projects that are supposedly marked finished have little more than a UN flag hung outside an unusable building, in many cases a school.
“While faith-based groups with proven track records and deep roots in these communities are more than willing to assist, the United Nations too often denies their funding requests. My friends, those days are over. 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 from this day forward with faith-based groups and private organizations to help those who are persecuted, he said.
“As we begin to see the tides of terror recede, I can assure you that President Trump is committed to help persecuted peoples reclaim their lands, return to their homes, rebuild their lives and replant the roots in their ancient place of birth.”