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Roma Downey's 'Faithkeepers' a Call to Action on Christian Genocide

05-11-2017
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Producer Roma Downey is behind a new film that documents the horrors faced by Christians in the Middle East. 

"Faithkeepers" gives the firsthand account of Christians in nations like Iraq, Syria, and Egypt, who are persecuted for their faith.

Downey and co-producer Paula Kweskin hope the documentary will bring awareness to American Christians about the reality of what is happening in the Middle East.

Kweskin told the Christian Post that the filmmaking process began years ago, before the rise of the Islamic State led to a big spike in persecution from Islamic extremists.

"We started to research and were planning to talk about how Christians in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran are struggling all the time and then in the midst of production, all of sudden, things got worse. I mean, much, much worse," Kweskin said. 

"Eventually, what was happening to Christians over the last few years because of ISIS can be called a genocide. We certainly never expected for things to get as bad as they did," she added.

Kweskin, who is also a human rights lawyer, said at least a dozen Christians from the Middle East share their own stories of persecution in the film. 

"When we first started interviewing folks, especially in Iraq and Syria, we were asking them to tell us about the recent violence. They said, 'I can tell you about this recent violence but I am going to have to tell you about how my parents were persecuted and my grandparents and my great grandparents and my great, great grandparents,'" Kweskin explained. 

"It's a lineage and heritage of persecution," she added. "I think it is almost miraculous that there are any Christians left in the Middle East."

The film will feature appearances by religious freedom advocates like former United States Congressman Frank Wolf and founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, Juliana Taimoorazy.

The film will be shown in churches nationwide on May 23rd and will offer Christians in America three ways they can help persecuted believers. 

"Awareness is bringing the film to your church or community, posting a trailer on Facebook, telling friends and family about it, getting on social media," she explained. "Advocacy is getting in touch with your congressman and elected official and telling them that you care about this."

She said American Christians can also provide aid to the persecuted church by supporting "The Faithkeeper Fund."

"Our tagline is 'Be your brother's keeper.' I really do hope that this inspires people to feel that their brothers and sisters are being persecuted and that they need to stand up and take action," Kweskin said.

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