Central Valley Assyrian Christian Bishop Calls for Action

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A small voice for many, that's what a prominent religious leader in the Central Valley said he will do in his effort to highlight what he calls the genocide of his people.

It's been about a month since ISIS allegedly took 300 Assyrian Christians captive in the Middle East, two of whom have immediate family in Stanislaus County.

Prayer and careful watch that’s what Bishop Mar Awa Royel doing for the past month, visiting with national leaders and members of his own congregation in the Central Valley on what some have called a mass murder.

"I think the Assyrian people around the world would agree that we are truly suffering a genocide,” Bishop Mar Awa Royel with the Assyrian Church of the East told FOX40.

The Bishop said he's been in constant contact with Assyrian Christian leaders in the Middle East as their people hold vigil for the 300 who have been allegedly held captive by extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria for about a month.

Two hostages are immediately related to a Modesto family.

"We try to give them consolation during their time of suffering now because they have no word for loved ones,” the Bishop said.

In early March, the Bishop sat down with Ben Rhodes, the Obama Administration's Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. The Bishop said the two spoke of the thousands displaced by ISIS and diplomatic actions taken by the administration.

Royel recognized dealing with the extremist group may result in deadly force.

“Any wrong move on the part of the administration would no doubt instigate another atrocity against those who are held captive," said the Bishop.

He's also calling on the world community to take action, highlighting the Arab states in the Middle East that he said have remained silent on the issue.

"It’s an involuntary collaboration. We cannot remain silent at the atrocities that our Assyrian people are suffering," the Bishop said.

The Bishop added that Rhodes could not speak specifics in their dealing with ISIS. But he is calling on the US to take concrete steps and possible military intervention.