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Chaldeans in US: Why aren’t more Christians speaking out against deportations to Iraq?

(RNS)  Some Chaldeans and their supporters are wondering why more Christian Americans — their co-religionists — are not speaking out against the impending deportation of hundreds of them from the U.S. to Iraq, which many liken to a “death sentence.”

About 200 Chaldeans — members of a group of Christians indigenous to Iraq — were rounded up by ICE agents in past weeks, including 114 in the Detroit area last weekend.

Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean Community Foundation, based in Sterling Heights, Mich., said he’s frustrated by evangelicals and others who have expressed outrage over the persecution of Christians in the Middle East but who have been silent about the Chaldeans who face deportation.

“They could be doing a lot more,” he said. “They could be saying, ‘Wait, we have been fighting to protect these people in their ancestral lands and now we are sending them back to those areas that we’re not doing enough to protect?’”

Philippe Nassif, executive director of In Defense of Christians — a Washington-based group that seeks to protect persecuted Christians in the Middle East — pointed to evangelicals such as Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, who held a summit in Washington last month to rally support for Middle Eastern Christians he called victims of genocide.

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