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The First Family is in Honolulu, Hawaii for their annual holiday vacation and, on Wednesday, President Barack Obama released a holiday statement about a seldom-discussed topic—the current persecution of Christians in the Middle East by ISIS.

On behalf of him and First Lady Michelle Obama, POTUS eloquently wrote that while Christians here in the U.S. and other nations have the freedom to celebrate religious holidays as they see fit, not everyone has that same luxury, especially in this recent era of radical terror.

“In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL,” he said.

He added that the persecuted would be in his thoughts this holiday season:

“We join with people around the world in praying for God’s protection for persecuted Christians and those of other faiths, as well as for those brave men and women engaged in our military, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts to alleviate their suffering and restore stability, security, and hope to their nations.  As the old Christmas carol reminds us: The Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Obama’s statement isn’t coming out of left field. Over the past year, there has been a documented disturbing and growing trend of ISIL silencing religions and even killing those of other faiths in places like Syria and Iraq as a means of ensuring that racial Islamic beliefs and leadership prevail, notes MSNBC.

Christianity isn’t the only religion that has been caught in the crosshairs of ISIL either.

Just this Wednesday, a bi-partisan group of House members sent Secretary of State John Kerry a letter expressing their concern over the refusal to distinguish Christians and other religious minorities such as the Yazidi, Shi’a and Turkmen as victims of genocide,” writes Politico.

[SOURCES: WhiteHouse.Gov, MSNBC, Politico]

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