Advocacy groups recently met in Washington D.C. to raise awareness about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and discuss possible solutions to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
The Philos Project and a group known as In Defense of Christians organized an event titled "Beyond Genocide: Preserving Christianity in the Middle East" to discuss how Americans can end violence in the Middle East and help believers in the region.
The Philos Project and other groups believe that Christians will only be safe if they have their own homeland. The group is proposing to turn the Nineveh Plains in Iraq to an independent Christian State. Some believe that the proposal is impractical but Robert Nicholson, president of the Philos Project, cited some examples to show that it is possible.
"History has shown us various examples of this concept working in practice, of minority peoples under existential threat surviving and thriving by securing territory: Israel, Armenia, Iraqi Kurdistan, even (to a far less satisfactory degree) Native American reservations in the U.S.," said Nicholson in his speech at the convention.
Nicholson noted that the idea has some support from the governing bodies in Iraq.
"The Government of Iraq has endorsed the Nineveh Plain Province idea. The Kurdistan Regional Government has endorsed the idea. The European Parliament has recognized the importance of securing the Nineveh Plain for Assyrians Chaldeans and others," Nicholson stated.
Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft gave a keynote speech about religious freedom at the convention.
"The idea of religious freedom is at the forefront and center, not just of what it means to be an American, but what it means to be a human being," Ashcroft said.
Rep. Anna Eshoo and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry were presented with Solidarity Awards for co-sponsoring a resolution that declares ISIS guilty of genocide against religious minorities.
Other groups involved in the convention include the Armenian National Committee of America, the Institute for Global Engagement and the Iraqi Christian Relief Council.