It has been my honor to work on behalf of the Iraqi families injured and displaced by the persecution of ISIS in Northern Iraqi. As well, it has been a pleasure to share with my friends in Loudoun County and throughout the nation the challenges they’ve faced and the progress being made to help them.
My previous update was in August, Bringing Jobs and Security to Families Suffering ISIS Persecution, and some good things have happened since.
With the holidays upon us, let me tell you how things stand in Northern Iraq, and then a bit about how you can help the families there by making a Christmas contribution to the Haven Project.
On the military side, there is much to celebrate. ISIS held the Nineveh Plain for more than two years, and that has been largely liberated by Iraqi Central Government and Kurdistan Regional Government forces with support from the US and other countries. However, despite what some media reports might have led you to believe, Christians have not been able to reclaim their homes — most of the towns are not yet habitable. Still, some have been able to return to celebrate their ancient liturgy in their severely damaged churches, and that is a blessing and a sign of hope for the coming year.
As you may recall, the special focus of the Haven Project is to make the economic revitalization of the Nineveh Plain possible after security is restored. To that end, in the new year we will create an online portal for volunteers and potential investors and entrepreneurs who want to use their business acumen to help the Christians, Yezidis, and Turkmen of Northern Iraq restart their economy.
When we have built the portal, we will also make a presentation kit for volunteers who want to educate their churches or organizations about the plight of the minorities of Northern Iraq, and how people can help by entering their skills, resources, and contacts into our database. In that way, we can connect them to the right people in Iraq, helping to facilitate the transactions needed to get the economy going again after ISIS. By reopening businesses, we can create the jobs necessary to make the communities sustainable again.
While there has been a lot going on in Washington on this issue, and we at IDC have been at the table helping lead that effort, there is no one working to facilitate the revitalization of the economy of those communities through reinvestment. That is why our portal will be an essential tool to recover these ancient communities and allow the families displaced by ISIS to return–as so many of them want desperately to do.
A generous donor who loves the Christians of the Middle East will match your Christmas gift to Christians in Iraq, up to $10,000. We have until December 31 to accept her offer, and I hope you will consider making a gift to the Haven Project here.
Please pray for the ancient communities of Northern Iraq who have been celebrating Christmas for almost 2000 years. And please help us help them earn their daily bread once again.
Stephen Hollingshead, Ph.D.
Managing Director, Haven Project
In Defense of Christians
On June 17, the Tribune published a letter from Dr. Hollingshead in which he made the case for providing economic assistance to northern Iraq, and why U.S. foreign policy ought to change. We editorialized in support of these efforts, and he provided the update referenced above on August 18.