Assyrian Americans react to plight, persecution of Iraqi Christians

TURLOCK - Thousands of Assyrian Christians have fled Mosul, Iraq in the past few months because of terrorist activities. What's happening in Iraq is hitting home with many of the estimated 30,000 Assyrian-Americans currently living in Modesto, Ceres and Turlock.

Assyrians Christians are a religious minority in Iraq. Terrorized Assyrians in Iraq have been forced from their homes because of religious persecution by jihadist group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

They and many Yazidi refugees are trapped on Mt. Sinjar, a mountain in Northern Iraq.

Turlock's Assyrian American Civic Club President Sam David said he is monitoring the news from Iraq.

"It's modern day genocide," David said. "For them to be directed this way, attacked this way because of Christianity, it's sad."

"It's been extremely extremely upsetting. We're just calling for international action," Modesto resident Suzan Younan. "250,000 displaced Assyrians. Thousands of Yazidis stuck on a mountain top. It's been horrific."

Younan said what's happening in Iraq is no longer a religious issue, but a humanitarian one.

"If you have brother, sister, children, mother, father, you feel for these people," Younan said.

The Assyrian-American Civic Club of Turlock plans on holding several fundraisers for refugees in Iraq to raise money for food and shelter. They've been able to raise $10,000 in the past four. days. They hope to raise at least $50,000.


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