The United States government is afraid to work directly with persecuted Iraqi and Syrian Christians because it doesn’t want America to look like a “crusader army,” prominent human rights lawyer and religious freedom advocate Nina Shea said Friday.
While speaking on a panel discussion focusing on global persecution at International Christian Concern’s first annual conference on the persecuted church, Shea, the director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, detailed the U.S government’s troubling pattern of indifference toward the plight of persecuted Christians across the world.
In addressing whether or not it will be plausible for Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq to have their own province in the Nineveh Plain once the Islamic State is defeated so that Christians can return to their homelands, Shea stressed that she doesn’t think that such outcome could happen because Christians would have serious trouble defending the land.
“I am not terribly optimistic about the Christians getting their own province, at least not right now,” Shea bluntly asserted.
Shea said that although it is plausible to train Assyrian and Chaldean Christians and other religious minorities to defend their own province, the U.S. has a “complex” when it comes to working directly with Christian people groups.
“Maybe they can be trained, maybe the U.S. can overcome its reluctance to work directly with Christians because it has a complex that it doesn’t want to look like a ‘crusader army,'” she explained. “This was true under the [George W.] Bush administration and more so now that the United States is desperate to avoid the label that we’re a ‘crusader army.'”