A Christian advocacy group is calling the genocide of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East "the problem from hell" that needs to be stopped. And yet it is only accelerating.
"Evidently ISIS carries out more than 100 attacks per month and its thirst for blood remains unabated. It is time to take ISIS's genocidal campaign seriously and it is time to take them at their word," the American Center for Law and Justice wrote in a recent article, noting that victims now total more than 33,000.
The ACLJ is collecting signatures and preparing to send letters to every U.S. presidential candidate, laying out the obligations to protect victims.
The advocacy group noted that there were 1.4 million Christians in Iraq in 2003, but now that number has dropped by 82 percent, down to a population of 250,000 or less.
The numbers are just as harrowing in Syria, where two-thirds of the 2 million or so Christian population has been displaced or slaughtered because of Islamic extremism and the ongoing civil war.
"Despite the fact that Christian communities of Iraq and Syria are ancient ones with ties to the earliest Church, and while some of these Christians still pray in the Aramaic language of Jesus of Nazareth and trace their religion to Thomas (one of the 12 apostles), they now face a situation that Pope Frances calls an 'ecumenism of blood,'" the law group wrote.
The U.S. government offered a response back in March when Secretary of State John Kerry finally recognized the ongoing slaughter of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria as a genocide, but the ACLJ says that much more needs to be done to protect vulnerable populations.
"The slaughter continues," the conservative group said, noting that in several cities in Syria, Christians are on the edge of extinction.
"For centuries, Syria was a melting pot that included Sunni Muslims, Alawites, Christians, Armenians and others. Today, the sand runs red with the blood of Christians and others," it wrote.
"Now the vicious ISIS ideology that sustains genocide has spread to parts of Asia and North and Central Africa. Regrettably, despite this spreading virus, the Obama Administration refuses to clearly identify the party responsible for this terror or take aggressive action to end the slaughter."
Along with letters to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the ACLJ will also prepare a separate letter to the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.
Christian leaders in Iraq and Syria have themselves warned several times that the religion is in danger amid the IS-driven genocide.
"We are a people on the brink of extinction," said Juliana Taimoorazy, a Chaldean Catholic and ethnic Assyrian, in April.
"We gave a lot to Christianity as Eastern Christians, and we gave a lot to humanity as the Assyrian people: Our history is 6,700 years old, and we established the first library in the world, among other contributions," added Taimoorazy, who is the executive director and founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council.
Father Douglas al-Bazi, a priest who was held and tortured by Islamic extremists in 2006, told The Christian Post in March that it is impossible to overstate what is happening to believers in Iraq and Syria.
"We are victims. The word [genocide] sometimes doesn't make sense to us. Genocide is a big word here. To me and to my people, 'genocide' is a polite word. I think we need to find another word to be fitting for what has happened to my people," the priest told CP at the time.
"We are talking about systematic genocide. We are not talking about one [instance] just happening by the Islamic State. We are talking about a huge history of targeting our people. We are are one of the oldest groups — Christians in Iraq and Mesopotamia. Just suddenly we find ourselves losing everything."