The terrible situation of Iraq's persecuted Christians has drawn the attention of the world, and many people have called for them to be protected.
Other groups have taken a more proactive approach to solving the problem, and one of those groups is the Knights of Columbus. The group has recently announced that they will be donating $500,000 to the cause of the Christians in Iraq, and they have also stated that they will match any public donations to the cause, up to another $500,000.
The Knights of Columbus has donated in 2013 alone more than $170 million, and has a long history of supporting persecuted parts of the Church. For example, during the 1920s when the Catholic Church was facing a lot of persecution and problems within Mexico, the Knights of Columbus donated a huge amount of humanitarian assistance, and attempted to use their position to engage the world's media, casting a light onto the illegal practices there. One of the largest Catholic fraternities in the world, there are more than 1.8 million members of the Knights of Columbus.
The “Knights of Malta,” Malteser International, says “Helping the sick, the wounded, and those fleeing persecution in the Middle East was the Order’s original mission 900 years ago, so the current plight of Iraqi Christians and minorities has moved us deeply.” Malteser International is the humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta, who embodies Christian values and humanitarianism.
The situation in Iraq for Christians living there – a centre of Christianity for the past two millennia – has become worse and worse. Many are being turfed out of their homes, their belongings and churches destroyed, and there are also reports of mass executions. These terrible acts are being performed by the self-titled Islamic State, or IS, which considers all other religious beliefs to be immoral. Christians are fleeing to Irbil, a city which is being protected by United States of America air strikes, preventing IS from getting to them. It is hoped that the aid that the Knights of Columbus, and other charitable organizations, will allow them to survive.