Near East Relief and the Rescue of "Absorbed" Armenian Women, 1915-21

Jan 01, 2013 | by
  • Description

In the publicity campaigns, pamphlets, and monthly magazine of the American charity Near East Relief, one regular feature was the rescue of the Christian Armenian women and children who had been abducted or sold during the deportation marches into Turkish, Kurdish or Arab homes and forcibly converted to Islam: indeed, it became a rallying cry for American aid and action until at least 1923. One article, entitled "Those Who Turn to Us in Hope," in the Near East Relief's magazine The New Near East, described the situation in 1921: Hidden away in Mohammedan homes, varying from the palatial abodes of rich Turks to the tents of wandering Arabs, are Christian Armenian girls, numbering … 63,800. … Imagination pictures life in the harem as degrading in the extreme according to Western standards. The intolerance of Mohammedan towards Christians adds to the degradation of these girls the horrors of relentless persecution. It has been our imperative duty, as Christians, to effect their release wherever possible.