There are literally thousands of Assyrian Christian men who have volunteered to join a militia protecting the Christians in Iraq, and may God bless them in such a holy cause. David William Lazar, California-based chairman of the American Mesopotamian Organization, has stated:
There are thousands of young Assyrian Christian men that have volunteered to join the protection units we’re planning on establishing in the coming weeks and months… Situations like this need political consensus before anything takes place on the ground. While there are hundreds of individuals that are armed with small weapons at this time, the bulk of the force is yet to be organized. Most of our areas in the Nineveh Plain are still under ISIS control and it doesn’t look like the Kurdish militias will be able to remove them without help from the International community.
There is also one great Christian militia called the Syriac Military Council, and its forces consist of Chaldean and Assyrian Christians.
Moreover, there are even some Europeans who have discussed the possibility of having a “fifth crusade” or “a new lepanto,” referring to the Battle of Lepanto of 1571 in which the Christian forces of the Catholic Holy League defeated the Ottoman Turks in what is the greatest naval battle in Christendom’s history.
Forty Christians, all well armed, who are members of the Assyrian Patriotic Party, have gotten so fed up with the persecutions that they have decided to hit hard the forces of ISIS. This militia calls itself Dukha, which means sacrifice, for truly, by fighting for the Faith, are these holy warriors partaking in the sufferings of Christ, warring against the spirits of darkness and contending with the sinister slaves of the devil, as Christ fought Satan on the Cross.
The churches of the Middle East have for decades taught pacifism, taking a misconstruing of the biblical concept of peace and applying it against Christian militancy. But now things are changing. As Henry Sarkis, one of the Christian militants fighting ISIS, has said:
We keep talking about Jesus and peace, and now we’ve reached the point where it’s not enough… The age of waiting for the Peshmerga to take back territory while we sit is over. We took the decision that, with our limited abilities, we will try to participate… We’re being killed in our homes, so why not defend ourselves? Then even if we die, we die with dignity… We didn’t want to reach this point – we just want to live in our areas
This notion of peace as pacifism, I believe, is refuted by Augustine when he wrote:
For peace is not sought in order that war might be undertaken, but a war is undertaken so that peace might be acquired. (Epistle 189)