"I'm a shepherd there. I have to really speak to my people there and tell them that it's safe. It's safe to be and to prosper at the same time," he said. "So, providing jobs. Helping and really realizing some of the economical projects for the young people, to help them stay and prosper in the area."
Many of the area's Christians fled to Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. While Warda said that he would love to work on luring them back to Iraq, he conceded that this task is "really difficult."
Another effort to ensure long-term safety for religious minorities will require a cultural shift, Warda explained. The deaths or displacement of Christians and Yazidis are considered "collateral damage" by the government, said Warda. This mentality resulted in "the majority of the persecution" faced by those groups.
He laid blame on the public school curriculum used in Iraq, which provides no information at all about religious minority groups in the country.
"There's nothing about Christians," he explained, noting that non-Muslims are described as infidels, and conspiracy theories about these groups abound.
Warda was particularly pleased with the inclusion of support for the criminal prosecution of Islamic State members who committed genocide. This, he said, will ensure that "history will not be written by people like ISIS. For the first time, the victims of this genocide will be able to tell their story and to provide history from their side."
The ability for these groups to have their stories heard will be a way to ensure that this genocide and displacement does not happen again.
"Unless you tell Muslims that there's something wrong in the way that you teach Islam, the history will repeat itself," the bishop explained. Even though Islamic State was defeated, "the ideology is still there."
"Writing the history from the side of the victims; it would help the other (side) to realize 'okay, never again," he said.
Editor's note: the post has been corrected. An earlier verision quoted Rep. Smith as saying the bill had been introduced in three previous years instead of two.
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