Christians driven from their ancestral homelands and persecuted by Islamist terrorists are pressing for an autonomous region of their own if the dust of Middle East violence ever settles.
Representatives of Iraq's Christian and Yazidi communities, as well as members of other religious minorities, convened in Washington last weekend and put forward a plan to carve out a sovereign state in the Nineveh Plain. Their plan has the backing of several lawmakers, including Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., who introduced a congressional resolution supporting the idea last week.
“Christians, Yazidis and other ethnic and religious minorities have been slaughtered and driven from their homes by ISIL’s horrific genocide,” Fortenberry told advocacy groups at In Defense of Christians' national convention last week.
The plan is a response to declarations by Congress and the State Department last March that ISIS was responsible for genocide against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in the region. A safe zone that could evolve into a sovereign state could allow them to remain safe from the black-clad jihadist army, say backers.
“One next step must be the re-securitization and revitalization of the Nineveh Plain, allowing the repatriation of those who had to flee," said Fortenberry. "This resolution, which follows on the government of Iraq’s own initiative to create a province in the Nineveh Plain region, seeks to restore the ancestral homeland of so many suffering communities.”