After Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from northern Syria led to an attack from the Turkish military on America’s Kurdish allies, a Christina missionary group announced that it would be holding an “urgent” night of prayer for the Kurdish people — held at Trump’s hotel in Washington, D.C.
The group, Frontier Alliance International, works to spread Christianity to areas where there is resistance, including the Middle East. The group’s founder, Dalton Thomas, said in a press release that he was moved to do something for the Kurdish people after watching news coverage of the Turkish military assault that followed Donald Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops from northern Syria.
The Kurds are a secular minority who live in parts of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. The group, made up mostly of Sunni Muslims but with small minorities that are Christian and Yazidi. Kurdish military groups had established a presence in northern Syria, which operated as a semi-autonomous region.
Trump was widely criticized for the move, which allowed Turkey to attack the Kurdish military forces that fought alongside the United States against ISIS.
After seeing images of destruction and death in the wake of the Turkish bombing, Dalton said he was moved to act — bringing the event to Donald Trump’s hotel. Dalton said the prayer event scheduled for October 27 is apolitical.
“The event will neither be a condemnation nor a defense of President Trump or his Middle East policies,” the organization said. “We are asking participants to leave partisan politics in the parking lot. We are gathering as Christians to consider and pray about issues that are much larger in scope than the decisions of a sitting President or the evolving dynamics of isolated geopolitical events. We aim to present the big picture, pray how the Lord would have us respond, and catalyze a Kurdish solidarity movement in the United States with the intention of also provoking the international community to do the same.”
It was not clear how much money the organization is spending to rent out space at Donald Trump’s hotel, which does not list pricing on its website for hosting events. The event itself is free, but registration is required and Frontier Alliance International said it would accept donations to help pay for the event.
Donald Trump has faced scrutiny for his continued connections to his business entities. Trump bucked tradition in refusing to cut ties with his business empire, handing over control to his adult sons rather than divesting his own interest as past presidents have done. Critics say that Trump is using his position as president to benefit financially, as foreign countries have booked rooms at his hotels in what critics say is an attempt to curry favor with the president. Trump has also spent a significant amount of time at his properties, where taxpayers pick up the bill for increased security costs.