(JNS.org) U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) introduced a bipartisan resolution supporting the creation of a safe haven for persecuted religious minorities in the Nineveh Plain region of Iraq, according to the Philos Project, an advocacy group promoting Christian engagement in the Middle East.
Introducing the resolution on Sept. 9, Fortenberry said, "Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities have been slaughtered and driven from their homes by ISIL's horrific genocide.”
Robert Nicholson, executive director of Philos Project, said establishing a new province in the ancestral homeland of Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities would “weaken violent Islamic factions, and protect against a post-ISIL vacuum.”
He added, "Without a strategy to decentralize power to Iraq's various regional communities and allow each to protect and govern itself at the local level, the future of Iraq is very uncertain.”
The resolution was drafted by the Philos Project, In Defense of Christians, and the Institute for Global Engagement in response to the U.S. State Department and Congress declaring in March the Islamic State is committing genocide against ethnic and religious minorities.
"One next step must be the re-securitization and revitalization of the Nineveh Plain, allowing the repatriation of those who had to flee,” Fortenberry said. “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."