WHAT IS THE NAZARENE FUND?
The Nazarene Fund is an initiative of Mercury One dedicated
to the evacuation of particularly vulnerable Christians from countries like
Iraq and Syria into new countries where they might rebuild their lives. Between
now and December 2015 our goal is to raise $10 million to save more than 400
families from regions taken over by ISIS. ISIS has used the Nazarene sign to
symbolize death – we will use it to symbolize life. More details here.
WHAT WILL THE MONEY BE USED FOR?
Donations to The Nazarene Fund will be used to resettle
Christian families who have been displaced by conflict in the Middle East,
primarily at the hands of ISIS. Should it become impossible or impractical to
resettle families, the contributions will be used to provide additional
humanitarian support where they are forced to stay.
WHY DO YOU SAY “PRIMARILY AT THE HANDS OF ISIS?”
While ISIS is the most influential – and perhaps most
dangerous – group terrorizing Christians in the Middle East, it is not the only
one. Other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, and less organized
terrorist sympathizers have also caused enormous persecution against the
ancient Christian communities in the Middle East. In fact the pro-longed
genocide against Christians in Iraq dates back at least till 2004, and began at
the hands of the ISIS’ predecessor, Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
YOU CALLED THIS “GENOCIDE” – DOES THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
RECOGNIZE IT AS SUCH?
While the United States and the United Nations have refused
to formally designate the ISIS threat against Christians and Yazidis as a
“genocide,” a growing number of human rights activists and organizations are
finding ISIS to be guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
The legal definition of “genocide” according to Article II of the United
Nations’ 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide legally defines the term as any of the following acts committed with
the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious
group, as such: (1) killing members of the group (2) Causing serious bodily or
mental harm to members of the group (3) Deliberately inflicting on the group
conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole
or in part (4) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
(5) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
THIS OBVIOUSLY SEEMS LIKE A GENOCIDE; SO WHY HAS THE U.S. AND
UNITED NATIONS NOT RECOGNIZED IT AS SUCH?
If genocide were formally declared, then it would trigger
certain international mechanisms that are meant to protect the group under
threat. Some human rights activists believe the United States fails to declare
the ISIS threat against Christians and Yazidis as “genocide” because it would
force the United States government to be more involved in providing direct
assistance to them. Presently, the United States government’s response has been
dismal, and especially so with regard to the ancient Christian communities of
the Middle East. Here, you can read additional information on what would
automatically happen if the United Nations were to declare this a genocide, as
well as specific evidence of genocidal acts by ISIS against Christians and
YOU KEEP MENTIONING YAZIDIS. WHY ARE WE NOT EVACUATING
YAZIDIS AS WELL AS CHRISTIANS?
First of all, the Yazidi community has not asked for our help
to migrate as has the Christian community. Secondly, unlike the Christian
community, it’s very difficult for the Yazidi community to assimilate into a
new culture. Their ancient religious and cultural tradition does not allow them
to marry outside their community, and they are forbidden from converting
outsiders. This poses particular challenges to their resettlement. In order to
survive, Yazidis need to be moved as large groups to as few destinations as
possible, rather than being moved in small groups and dispersed within various
nations, as we can do with the Christian community. We have learned that some
Yazidis have expressed an intent to migrate along the Black Sea – in the
country of Georgia – and they have already begun the work of building new
temples there to support their religion and culture. We are absolutely
interested in helping them do so, but this is a much more complicated project
that is impractical for us at present. However, we are working on helping the
Yazidi community in other ways, especially when it comes to helping the
community cope with the enormous trauma they’ve endured at the hands of ISIS’
BUT, HOW IS IT FAIR THAT YOU ARE PRIMARILY FOCUSED ON
It’s not a matter of fairness – we wish we could help
everyone – but it is a matter of practicality, resources and urgency. The
United States is a Christian majority country that can more quickly and more
easily rally support for displaced Christians. We also have a grave concern for
all of those being effected by ISIS in the region, not excluding the majority
Muslim population, which has been the victim of more terrorist related
causalities than any other religion or culture. However, the Christian
community faces a particular threat of extermination. Lord George Weidenfeld is
a British peer who has personally rescued 25 families from ISIS, resettling
them in Poland, and he did so because he was himself rescued by Christians in
1938 as a young Jewish boy. Now he says, “he is repaying the favor.” When
Weidenfeld was asked by a reporter why he was only helping Christians, he
responded, “I cannot save the world, but there is a very specific possibility on
the Christian side.” He went on to say, I want to focus on something I can —
with great difficulty and effort — achieve. I have tremendous sympathy for
Muslim victims, but . . . there is an enormous amount of Muslim money in the
Muslim world [for them to help their own], and the other thing is the
logistical problem: Muslims could be shifted a few hundred kilometers away from
the conflict but the Christians will have to find safe havens on the other end
of the earth. Columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is distant cousin of
Weidenfeld, defended him in The Washington Post by saying, “this comes under
the heading of no good deed goes unpunished. It’s a rather odd view that
because he cannot do everything, he should be admonished for trying to do
something.” We agree. If we had limitless resources, we would help everyone,
but we don’t. So, we’ll start with those we can most easily help, the
WILL YOU BE “VETTING” THOSE WE HELP EVACUATE? HOW DOES THAT
WORK? AREN’T YOU CONCERNED ABOUT BRINGING IN PEOPLE WITH ILL INTENTIONS?
Yes, those we help evacuated will undergo a thorough
“vetting” process to ensure they aren’t actually closeted terrorists. Generally
speaking, the Christian community in the Middle East has represented the
economic and social backbone of these societies. Highly educated and
successful, they have been university professors, engineers, bankers and
administrators. Many are multi-lingual and well traveled. They are non-violent,
non-sectarian and have been trusted for many years, employed in some of the
most important positions in secular and Islamic regimes. Whatever country takes
them in will be blessed by their contributions to society. Yet, the emphasis of
our approach is “verification.” We have an internationally respected and experienced
security contractor handling this process on our behalf with the mandate to do
their work according to standards that are even more stringent than those
employed by others in the international community, including the United
Nations. The vetting program begins with the families being recommended by the
local Christian leaders. In most cases, these are people whom the Christian
leaders have known for their entire lives. So, we are evacuating people from
within an enclosed cultural system. We then meet with each of the recommended
IDPs/Refugees personally to begin the process of ensuring they are who they say
they are. During this time we record their stories, collect documentation of
their identity and then we diligently and carefully verify and cross-check both
their stories and their documents. Along the way, we confirm their desire to be
relocated and also make sure they fully understand this will be a challenging
process to assimilate into a new country and culture. We employ of a number of
other “best practices” used by the intelligence community to analyze the
behavior of the interviewees throughout the entire process. While we can’t
fully disclose all that’s involved in vetting these people, we can tell you
that international standards are employed. During the vetting process, we also
work with government officials from the “receiving” countries to ensure all
appropriate immigration paperwork is completed and verified.
ONCE THE FAMILIES ARE VETTED, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Families are legally transported from their home or host
country to their new country where they are received by individual sponsors or
a sponsoring organization (depending upon the country). They are helped to
assimilate from finding accommodations to education for their children to finding
employment to language acquisition, etc. Through sponsoring organizations, the
families are also provided with some financial assistance with the intent of
easing their transition into life and work in their new home and country.
WHERE ARE THE RESCUED REFUGEES GOING TO END UP?
We hope to be able to bring many of them to the United
States. However, the United States remains closed to Christian refugees.
Meanwhile, a number of European and South American countries have agreed to
provide a limited number of VISAS to those we help evacuate.
HOW DO WE PRESSURE THE U.S. TO BECOME A RECEIVING COUNTRY?
Presently, the United States is not a receiving country. If
you would like to help us put pressure on the U.S. Government to take in Middle
Eastern Christians, then please fill how the form entitled “Are you ready to
house a family from the Middle East?” here. What are some other ways? Write
your Congressperson; Raise your voice as an advocate through social media; Get
your pastor, rabbi or priest on board; Provide financial support.
ARE WE GOING TO MARCH REFUGEES ACROSS THE MEXICAN BORDER LIKE
Glenn Beck has said on a number of occasions that he is
willing to march Christian refugees across the border of the United States if
we can get them to Mexico. We believe this is very possible, and it would make
a major national statement that the United States of America still believes
what is written on the Statute of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your
huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Glenn added he’ll gladly grace the
jail that holds him if he’s arrested. We know he won’t stay quiet about this
and will provide further details if this is required.
AND THIS ALL COSTS APPROXIMATELY $25,000 PER FAMILY?
Yes, we have budgeted approximately $25,000 to evacuate a
family of five. This also includes providing some financial assistance to that
family for a year. Normally, families have to be evacuated in a group via
charter aircraft after they are already securely transferred from wherever it
is they are presently finding accommodation. The families are vetted by
international security professionals, and sometimes are required to stay in a
temporary location for a number of days. Additionally, there are expenses
involved in laying down the infrastructure in the receiving countries, and in
general logistical and administrative support in the evacuating countries. The
evacuation process is – by its nature – variable, and some evacuations cost
more than others. Every situation is unique. Our goal is to make each
evacuation as inexpensive as possible so we can provide as much of the $25,000
as possible to the family as a gift to help them get on their feet. Those gifts
are provided in installments through the first year of their resettlement.
ISN’T THE WORLD ALREADY DEALING WITH THE REFUGEE PROBLEM?
The situation in Iraq and Syria has created the worst refugee
crisis since World War II, and the entire world is struggling to deal with it.
It’s an “all hands on deck” moment. It is anything but resolved, and unless we
work to provide safe and legal ways for the most vulnerable to escape, we will
continue to witness the death of those who have been trying to flee without any
assistance or those who’ve been forced to stay.
HOW ARE WE EVEN MAKING A DENT IN THE REFUGEE CRISIS?
We cannot save the world, but we can save many lives. Every
time you save a single life – to them – you are saving their entire world. We
know we can’t solve the whole problem, but we sure can make the difference in
the lives of many. Rather than being focused on the enormity of the problem we
are focused on the individual lives we can save.
IS THIS RESCUE OPERATION LEGAL?
Absolutely, everything is being done with legal counsel and
in cooperation with governments according to established international
standards and regulations.
ARE WE BUYING OR BRIBING BAD GUYS? DOES ANY OF THE MONEY GO
No and no.
HOW CAN I GIVE? Just visit now.mercuryone.org, and donate to
The Nazarene Fund.