Christian and Yazidi children who've been targeted by the Islamic State terror group with genocide are pleading with U.S. President Donald Trump to do more to save them.
Fox News reported on Tuesday that it has obtained photos of the childrens' messages to Trump from refugee camps in Iraq, some of them reading "God Bless USA," "Don't forget us President Trump," and "Please help us Mr. Trump," signed as "Christians in Iraq."
Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, warned that the State Department is facing a deadline to provide portions of more than $1 billion in aid to religious minorities targeted by Islamic radicals.
"I think it will strike the conscience to see the real faces of innocent children who need to be rescued," Shea said.
"When images of the Yazidis fleeing Mt. Sinjar were made public, it galvanized the previous [Obama] administration to go back with troops, food drops and other aid after our military had already pulled out of Iraq."
"We saw something similar with President Trump's actions after the chemical attacks in Syria," she added, referring to U.S. strikes on Syria earlier this year.
Although the Consolidated Appropriations Act promised $1.3 billion in humanitarian aid for Christians, Yazidis, and other persecuted minorities, the refugees have reportedly not seen any of that money. What is more, the Act is set to expire this week at the end of the fiscal year.
In September, Catholic and Christian churches called for USAID to release $22 million of the allocated funds, but state officials have said that there is a "religion blind" policy which prevents money form being sent to religious groups despite the statutory mandate to assist these communities.
Fox noted that an exception was made for the Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar, however, who received $32 million in aid.
"It is always good when people who are in danger are helped. But why is there a terrible disparity between our government's treatment of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma and the absolute lack of help for Christians in Iraq — whom Secretary Tillerson declared last month to be victims of genocide," Shea continued.
"The principles at stake are enormous. In Iraq, we should be helping people that are victims of genocide. But our government is not. We should be caring for all religious minorities. But our government is not. We should be concerned about religious freedom. But our government is not."
The Trump administration's first International Religious Freedom Report recognized the genocide of Christians in Iraq and Syria back in August, with Secretary of State Rex. W. Tillerson writing: "ISIS has and continues to target members of multiple religions and ethnicities for rape, kidnapping, enslavement, and death. ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled."
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said on Tuesday that while the Trump administration has recognized the genocide, "it has taken surprisingly long for it to do something about it."
"It's time for the State Department to follow through on its commitment to help these families, who are being hunted down simply for believing in Jesus Christ. The least America can do is ensure that its money is not only being used — but used effectively," Perkins added.