Seven Assyrian Christians died while trying to escape ISIS. They drowned while crossing the Mediterranean.
AINA reports that while traveling across the Aegean Sea to Greece on November 17, the boat they were on capsized. The seven were from two Assyrian families. They were named as Stephen Marzena and Silbana Sami Marogeh, their two children Angie and Mark. Silbana's sister Samah Sami Marogeh and her two children Haneen Salem Saman and Marvin were also on the boat.
The seven, along with 50,000 more fellow Assyrians left their hometown Qaraqosh to flee from the ISIS militants. It was August of last year when Kurdish troops withdrew from the town, enabling ISIS militants to capture it overnight and take over four Christian-majority towns.
In particular, Qaraqosh is comprised of Iraq's largest Christian community. At least a quarter of the country's Christian population resides in Qaraqosh.
The refugee crisis is made worse by the Paris attacks last Friday, the aftermath of which made world leaders contemplate whether they should still open their borders to refugees. For one, the US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to halt Obama's program to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016. Many Christians found the vote to be distasteful.
Speaking at a press conference, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of Catholic bishops in England and Wales, also asked the world to be more compassionate to refugees. The Cardinal also asked the world to differentiate the refugees from the perpetrators of terrorist acts. "The majority of refugees are victims not perpetrators of violence," he said. "We should not cast the mischief made by a tiny number of people across the shoulders of people who are desperate and themselves victims of terrible violence."
Stephen Colbert also provided his two cents on the issue. Speaking on Thursday night's "Late Show," Colbert claimed that the plight of Syrian refugees in seeking entry to the United States can be comparable to the plight of Mexicans before. "Whether or not to let Syrian refugees into this country has become the new political issue, completely overshadowing the old political issue, whether to let Mexicans into this country," Colbert said.
Colbert also sarcastically responded to the comments by Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. According to Trump, Syrian refugees themselves may not want to go to the United States now because the country is entering winter. Syrians, who are more used to the hotter weather, therefore, would not want to be in Minnesota. "It's a tough call for refugees," Colbert said. "Do I want to stay in a war zone where my family faces almost certain death or do I want to go somewhere where I have to put on a jacket before I go to the mall?"