"This is the history of Christians indigenous to the Middle East. They forgive, and by doing so they open the path to peace," the Supreme Knight continued. "Today, they have given up everything but their faith, for their faith. But even having lost so much, they have given a great gift, to their fellow citizens and to the world. The gift they have given is the example of forgiveness and mercy – the fundamental building blocks of peace."
He cited the example a young girl severely burned by members of the Islamic State group in Mosul who was dying of her injuries in a hospital. Before she died, she told her mother to forgive them
Another girl told ABC's 20/20 News she also forgives the Islamic State group.
"Jesus said 'forgive each other, love each other the way I love you,' that is what we need to learn. Forgiveness," she said.
A Chaldean Catholic Iraqi priest, Father Douglas Bazi, was captured by terrorists for nine days. They tortured him, knocked out his teeth, and broke his back with a hammer.
During the torture, the priest prayed the rosary, using the chain links on his shackles as beads. He still tried to minister to his torturers, telling one that if they crossed paths again "I will buy you a cup of tea."
"This Christian witness of mercy and forgiveness is having an effect," Anderson said, citing a Yazidi family who told a Knights of Columbus team that almost all the assistance they have received have come from Christians.
Anderson continued to stress the vital role of Christians in the region.
"A true path to peace in the region requires the presence of Christians within a pluralistic society in which they are full and equal citizens. This means they must survive, and they must be treated equally," he said.
The Supreme Knight called for direct funding to communities who are victims of genocide. U.S. and U.N. officials in Iraq have said they prioritize aid to individuals in the most need, but do nothing for groups as such even if the groups have been targeted for genocide.
"Victims and survivors of genocide should be prioritized," Anderson said, adding that communities facing extinction should not be ignored.
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Aid channels have failed and government delivery systems are unreliable, he reported, advocating that financial aid be delivered directly to threatened communities through new channels and new partnerships with religious organizations.
"If it is not done, the genocide begun by ISIS will likely succeed by our own inaction," Anderson warned.
He suggested that given the vast amounts of foreign aid to the region from the U.S. and other countries gives leverage to secure real equality and human rights for threatened minorities.
"We must insist that Christians and other non-majority communities are no longer marginalized," he said.
Anderson invoked the Knights of Columbus' long history of humanitarian relief, advocacy and public awareness work.
The Knights aided persecuted Christians in Armenia and the Middle East in the early 20th century and supported persecuted Mexican Catholics around the same time. The organization advocated for Jews in Germany before World War II and for religious freedom in Central and Eastern Europe during the Cold War.