(The Hill) President Obama lamented the persecution of Christians worldwide, specifically by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, in a statement the day before Christmas Eve.
"In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent," Obama said.
"This silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL," he added, using an alternate name for the terror group.
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The president has often faced criticism from Republican rivals, including presidential hopefuls, for not doing enough to help Christians being persecuted in the Middle East by radical Muslim terrorists.