You ran a report from The Washington Post, "U.S. attacks militants in Iraq" [News, Aug. 9], that said that in Northern Iraq religious minorities, in particular the Yazidis, suffer death and expulsion at the hands of Sunni fanatics. The destruction of the ancient Christian communities of Mesopotamia, which have flourished for two millennia, is also a disaster of the first magnitude that the we in the West should be concerned about.

According to the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq, about 100,000 Christians, originally expelled from Mosul, are now fleeing their villages in the plain of Nineveh with nothing but their clothes on their back, while the churches they left behind are being demolished and desecrated, their books and documents burned.

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A people and its heritage -- which is also many of ours -- are being destroyed as the world watches. We have a responsibility to protect.

Jakob Schmidt, Stony Brook