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