By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–A few dozen people gathered at St. Maron’s Maronite Church in South Philadelphia last night to learn more about the struggles and violence faced by Christians in the Middle East.

The meeting was organized by “In Defense of Christians,” a non-profit that advocates for religious minorities.

“A lot of these people should have priority access to come to the United States because they’re victims of genocide,” said Philippe Nassif, Executive Director of In Defense of Christians (IDC).

img 0389 Dozens In Philly Learn About Struggles Christians Face In The Middle East

Photo/ Mike Dougherty

He says his group is the only one in D.C. lobbying for Christians and other religious, minorities like the Yazidi.

“They’re being driven out of their homes, out of their communities, out of their cities,” said Nassif. “We’re here tonight to ask people to help us reach out to their members of Congress to make sure these communities are protected.”

Father Vincent Farhat is the pastor at St. Maron’s and says there’s a lot of work to be done.

“We need to try and figure out what we can do to promote peace over there.”

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