The renowned CBN Middle East Bureau Chief presents his insightful book to a star-studded audience at a Hollywood movie studio
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
HOLLYWOOD, CA (ANS – April 8, 2016) — It’s a long way from the killing fields of ISIS in the Middle East to Hollywood, California, but that’s where renowned CBN Middle East Bureau Chief, Chris Mitchell, travelled recently to present his latest book, “ISIS, Iran and Israel” to a star-studded audience of Christian working in the entertainment business.
The event, sponsored by Media Fellowship International (http://www.mediafellowship.org), and hosted by its founder, Bob Rieth, was held at EastWest Studios on Sunset Blvd., and I was able to interview Mitchell about his timely book, which has the full title of “ISIS, Iran and Israel: What You Need to Know about the current Mid East Crisis and the coming Mid East war.”
Mitchell, who lives in Jerusalem and has worked with CBN for some 27 years, began by sharing about why he wrote the book.
“I wrote it because of the experiences I’ve been able to have on the frontlines with the Kurdish military, who were fighting next to ISIS, seeing Christian refugees that have had to flee their homes because of ISIS; interviewing a Yazidi sex slave, and also a 14-year-old boy who was captured by ISIS,” he said. “In view of that, I felt it was important to relate those experiences and tell people in the West, especially here in the United States, what they need to know about what’s happening in the Middle East right now.”
I then asked him the veteran reporter, who has been based in Jerusalem for almost 16 years, about the fact that his is book came out around the same time that the Obama Administration, in the form of Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced that ISIS was guilty of committing “genocide” against Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims.
Kerry’s statement came on the same day that a congressional deadline urging the Obama administration to make its own judgement was set to expire. Earlier in week, the House had overwhelmingly approved a resolution 393-0 that actions taken by ISIS against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria constituted “genocide.”
Kerry said, during his speech on March 17th from the State Department briefing room, “Da’esh (ISIS) is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions in what it says, what it believes and what it does.”
So I asked Mitchell why this news was so vital in the fight against this brutal group, and he replied, “It’s important because, first of all, legally, it means that the US government can now take certain steps. For example, they can take ISIS to the International Criminal Court [which is based in the Netherlands]. But it also sets a standard and it makes a moral statement by the United States that they recognize what ISIS is doing both to Christians and to the Yazidis, an ethnic group there in Northern Iraq. This statement also includes some of the Shia, but mainly the Yazidis and the Christians, because ISIS has targeted both of those groups specifically to eradicate them from Northern Iraq and Syria.
“It’s a very important decision by the Obama administration. There were many groups trying to pressure the government to go ahead and make this step, and it’s a good thing that they did. I believe it came about because of the political pressure, and also by many other nongovernmental groups that were telling them that they really needed to make this decision, and now they have.”
I then asked Chris Mitchell if he thought the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States to get rid of Saddam Hussein, and his never actually found “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” had actually prompted the rise of ISIS.
Mitchell replied, “In a limited historical sense, sure, because when Saddam Hussein was overthrown, then that allowed groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, who preceded them in Iraq, to take dominance there in the region.
“However, it can actually go back to the 7th century when Islam declared war on the ‘infidels’ and I think that ISIS is a modern-day manifestation of that war against the West and against the US. That’s one of the things I wrote about in the book and is something that people need to understand. We are in a war against ISIS and radical Islam.”
Mitchell’s previous book was called “Destination Jerusalem: ISIS, Convert or Die, Christian Persecution and Preparing for the Days Ahead,” and so I asked him what was the difference between the two books.
“Well they do overlap in some regards because they both talk about Christians that are being persecuted in the Middle East,” he said. “It also talks about how many Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus Christ because of dreams and visions.
“But the new book also goes into some of the geopolitical developments that have happened within the year after I wrote ‘Destination Jerusalem,’ and that would include the Iranian nuclear deal that has had an impact throughout the Middle East, and especially here in the United States.
“Also, I cover the Russians’ involvement in the Syrian civil war and also what I call the Middle East ‘game of thrones.’ There are so many competing agendas and alliances within the region that are creating such havoc there.”
I then asked him why he thought that ISIS has such a deep-rooted hatred for Christians, also known as “People of the Book,” and he replied, “Well they give Christians and Jews some recognition because they are both ‘People of the Book,’ and, because of that, they give them four choices. The first choice that ISIS gave these Middle Eastern Christians was that they could leave their homes that they’ve lived in for years and generations. And, if they wished to stay, they would have to pay the Jizya tax [a capitation tax levied on non-Muslims by an Islamic state.] And the fourth thing they had was they could die by the sword. So because of the fact that they are ‘People of the Book,’ they had choices, but none of them were very good ones.”
I told then Chris Mitchell that I was fascinated by the Yazidis and asked him to tell us more about this mysterious group.
“They’re an ethnic group that have an usual theology; a kind of mishmash of different faiths. They worshiped on a mountain called Mount Sinjar and they have a city of called Sinjar. They really came into world news when ISIS came in and captured their city and killed thousands of them. Those that survived, fled, but many of the women were captured and made into sex slaves which I talk about that in the book. Some of the young kids were being trained as Jihadists so ISIS has really designated them as ‘devil worshipers’ because of their faith and they have really tried to eliminate them from the face of the earth.”
What role is Israel playing in the current Mid East crisis?
“Well, in one sense, Israel is probably the most stable place in the Middle East,” he said. “It’s a place where Christianity is actually flourishing to a certain extent, unlike most of the rest of the Middle East. It also faces greater threats now because of the Iranian nuclear deal which, I believe, may almost guarantee that Iran will, one day, get a nuclear weapon, whether they wait 10 or 15 years, and go according to the nuclear deal, or also they may have a covert program which many believe they do, and then get a nuclear bomb which poses an existential threat to the state of Israel. So that’s what we talk about in the book — the added threats to Israel.”
During the interview, which I did as part of my “Front Page Radio” show, and for my TV program, “Inside Hollywood” on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv), I asked Mitchell what he hopes that people who read the book will take away from it.
“I want them to first of all to take away that we are at war with radical Islam,” he said. “I think people in the West have maybe forgotten that we are living in tumultuous days, and that we need to be preparing ourselves. And especially I want the Body of Jesus Christ in the West to know what’s happening to their brothers and sisters in the Middle East, so they can be informed about them, so they can pray for them, speak up for them and support them in whatever way they can. I think that’s really the heart of the book.”
I concluded the interview on a controversial note by mentioning that Canon Andrew White, who for many years, headed up an Anglican church in Baghdad, and was known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” was formerly a pacifist, but recently has stated that the only way to deal with ISIS was to destroy them. This was quite understandable, I mentioned, because White, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, had seen unspeakable violence in his congregation, where more than 1,200 men, women and children who worshipped with him, had been killed in recent years. He even revealed that four boys he knew were beheaded because they refused to swear allegiance to Islam and the church caretaker was forced to watch as his five-year-old boy was cut in half.
So I asked Mitchell if he would agree with him, and he replied, “I would agree with that because many of the people in his particular church, St. George’s when he was in Baghdad they actually left Baghdad because of all of the terrorism and they went up to Mosul in Northern Iraq and then suddenly ISIS came in killed many of them. Many of them had to flee and I think he recognizes, as many do in the Middle East, that ISIS needs to be eradicated because they pose a threat not only to the region, but they have global ambitions they really do want to take over the world.”
Should the US then send a force into the region to try and wipe them out?
“I think they should actually,” he told me. “It should be a limited force, with a limited area of operation, but I do think boots on the ground are necessary. We could go into more detail about that, but my answer would be, yes.”
With that, Chris Mitchell then spoke to his packed audience, and if you would like to get a copy of his book, Amazon would be one of the first places to look.
Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview, and you can hear an edited portion of this interview, along with others attending the event, including Bob Rieth, Founder of Media Fellowship International, Florence LaRue from the 5th Dimension, Rosey Grier, the member of the “Fearsome Foursome,” and former Wheel of Fortune host, Susan Stafford, by going to http://oldassistnews.net/frontpageradiofiles/FPRMar1016ChrisMitchellMono.mp3.
Photo captions: 1) Chris Mitchell with his new book. 2) Barbaric: Around 20 ISIS fighters stand behind the line of men and the squad of jihadists begin to murder the prisoners. 3) A Yazidi mother flees with her children from ISIS. 4) Dan Wooding with Chris Mitchell after interviewing him about his previous book, “Destination Jerusalem.” 5) Chris Mitchell pictured with his daughter at the Hollywood event. (Photo: Dan Wooding) 6) Dan Wooding reporting for ANS from outside the Kurdistan Parliament in Erbil, Northern Iraq.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is the author of some 45 books. He also has two TV shows and a radio show, all based in Southern California. He has reported for ANS from all over the Middle East, and his most recent trip was to Northern Iraq.
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