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Ethics & Religion
March 10, 2016
Column #1,802
ISIS Persecution of Christians is Genocide
by Mike McManus

 

Surprise. Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz agree on something! They have jointly called upon the U.S. State Department to declare that ISIS atrocities against Christians in the Middle East are "genocide."

Sec. Clinton broke with President Obama when she took her stand in December. She said it's clear that there is a brutally violent campaign "deliberately aimed at destroying not only the lives but wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East in territory controlled by ISIS."

The State Department had spent months debating whether to label the campaign of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL) against a different religious minority, the Yazidis, a "genocide," a designation that carries significant legal, political and historical implications. Christian groups and Republicans urged the Secretary of State John Kerry to include Iraqi and Syrian Christians as well.

In fact, Sec. Clinton was responding to a letter sent to President Obama in November by 21 human rights organizations, including the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USIRF), the U.S. Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals - imploring President Obama to recognize that ISIS is committing genocide not just against Yazidis but also against Christians, Shi'a Muslims, Turkmen and other religious groups that ISIS labels "infidels" or "apostates."

USIRF Chairman Robert P. George asserted, "The hallmark of genocide is the intent to destroy a national, racial, ethnic or religious group, in whole or in part. ISIL's intent to destroy religious groups that do not subscribe to its extremist ideology...is evident in, not only its barbarous acts, but also its own propaganda."

Clinton and other leaders won enough respect from the President that on Christmas Day, Obama issued a somber message: "In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL."

Thousands of Christians have been beheaded, crucified or shot. Women have been raped and Christian children have been sold into slavery or forced to be brides of ISIS fighters.

Jewish peer George Weidenfeld, who was able to escape Nazi-occupied Austria with the help of British Christians, is funding a charity known as the Barnabas Fund, to save the Syrian Christians. "I have a debt to repay," he told a British newspaper.

ISIS "is unprecedented in its primitive savagery compared with the more sophisticated Nazis. When it comes to pure lust for horror and sadism, this is unprecedented."

However, the Administration has still not declared ISIS killing of Christians and other minorities to be "genocide." Sec. Kerry pledged to a Congressional Committee that a decision will be made "very, very soon."

With no action yet taken, the Knights of Columbus issued a statement at the National Press Club on Thursday. In advance of it, Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus stated: "The American people together with presidential candidates agree that Christians and other religious minorities are facing genocide in the Middle East. "With such a bi-partisan consensus, inaction on a declaration of genocide by...the State Department is unconscionable. An entire year has gone by with their silence. The time for action is now - while those being persecuted can still be saved."

Fortunately, Congress did add an amendment to a funding bill that demanded the Administration to respond by March 17.

The need for action is acute. Iraq's Christian population used to be 1.5 million. Now there are only 500,000. In Syria, of the 1.1 million Christians, 600,000 have fled or been killed.

Young boys are being forced to carry out suicide missions. The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights reports another 7,700 executions in Iraq, including 2,100 in the ISIS stronghold in Mosul.

ISIS has employed barbaric methods of torture and execution, videoing the brutal beheading of soldiers and civilians, stoning alleged adulterers to death and throwing gay men off of buildings to their death. ISIS used child executioners who were forced to shoot 25 Syrian regime soldiers inside an ancient Roman amphitheater. The most recent video shows a boy aged about 10 beheading a Syrian army officer.

Pope Francis has condemned the "complicit silence" over the murder and persecution of Christians around the world. On Christmas he declared, "We see, even today, our brothers persecuted, beheaded, crucified, for their faith in you, in front of our eyes, often with our complicit silence."

America must declare ISIS guilty of genocide.

____________________________________________

Copyright (c) 2016 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. To see past columns go to www.ethicsandreligion.com and hit Search for any topic.

 

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