Note: This post has nothing to do with writing or my books, so skip if you only want professional updates.
There are a lot of refugee crises plus other horrors going on in the world. If I listed all of them from just the past two weeks, it would turn into a novel-sized post. However, I wanted to share a story I’ve been following about the eviction of Christians from the Mosul city of Iraq. If you haven’t heard about it, here’s a brief recap: The militant group Isis seized control of Mosul and ordered that all Christians recant their faith and convert to Islam, or pay a heavy fine, or leave. Failure to comply would be result in their execution. For a more detailed account, go here or here.
Thousands of Mosul Christians left. At “checkpoints” on their way out, refugees say they were robbed of their few remaining belongings. Their former homes or businesses were seized and marked with a painted Arabic letter that stands for Nasara, or Nazarenes, meaning Christians.
Let me stress that anyone who has seen their faith used as an excuse to promote a hateful/violent agenda should be able to sympathize with Muslims who have no part in these or other extremists’ acts. Muslims all over the world have condemned Isis for this and other crimes, plus Christians are by no means the only group being abused and forced out of Iraq. Furthermore, it was his Muslim neighbors that saved 70-year-old Samer Yacub by convincing Isis soldiers not to kill him when he was unable to leave by the deadline, and Muslims have provided sanctuary to most of the displaced Mosul Christians in other parts of Iraq.
I’m writing this post for two reasons. First, out of a sense of awed humility. These Mosul Christians gave up everything they owned and trekked miles through the desert to go to camps with little water or electricity rather than recant their faith. I think of the things I struggle with as a Christian, and to say it pales by comparison is an indescribable understatement. Second, I found a charity to help the Mosul Christian refugees and I’m linking it here, if any of you feel inclined to donate as I did.
If you don’t feel inclined, no harm, no foul. As I said above, there are many humanitarian crises going on in the world, which is why I’m a regular donor to such charities as Doctors Without Borders, Unicef, CARE, IRC, Children International, Samaritan’s Purse and the UNHCR. For domestic charities, I’ve turned to Feeding America, Wounded Warriors and St. Jude’s, and because I’m an animal lover, ASPCA and The Humane Society regularly get contributions from me, too. There are countless other charities that help alleviate suffering both nationally and worldwide, so before any says “But what about ________? I can’t believe you don’t donate to them, too!” I am only one person, and like everyone else, my funds are limited. That means I have to say no far more than yes. I think the important thing is to remain open to caring for others, wherever that care is directed at and/or in whatever manner it can be displayed (donating, volunteering, a prayer, a hug or even a smile). As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
I believe that, which is why I ask that comments consist solely of your favorite charity/charities to help spread the word about them. There are more than enough comments on the internet assigning blame to this group or that group for the world’s problems, so in this comment thread, I’d like the focus to be on charities that are trying to spread a little mercy, love and light instead.