State Department Will Ignore Christian Genocide By ISIS

Dec 10th, 2015 | By | Category: Weekly Washington Updates
Christians crucified by ISIS in Syria in June, 2013. Their bodies hang in a town square.

Christians crucified by ISIS in Syria in June, 2013. Their bodies hang in a town square.

WORLD Magazine recently reported that the State Department is on the verge of declaring that the Islamic State in the Nineveh Plains and other areas in Iraq are committing genocide against Yazidis, but not Christians.

This declaration will omit Christians, yet there is ample evidence that Christians are one of the primary targets of Muslim terrorist actions in the Middle East.

A group of religious leaders have written to Secretary of State John Kerry to urge him to include Christians under the genocide statement.

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In their letter to Kerry, they state:

We write as American citizens concerned about the vulnerable Christian and Yazidi minorities of Iraq and Syria who are being targeted for eradication in their ancient homelands solely because of their religious beliefs. We respectfully request, on an urgent basis, a meeting with a small delegation who can brief you on the continuing religious genocide confronting both these peoples.

We recently learned that a State Department finding is imminent that ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidis. We would wholeheartedly endorse that finding, but we are deeply troubled by the prospect that the Department’s statement will either omit or reserve judgment on whether ISIS is committing genocide against Christians.

Two reasons have been given for excluding Christians from the State Department’s findings.

First, we understand that the Department’s statement will be based on a limited review of ISIS’ actions in Nineveh, Iraq, since the summer of 2014, and that the Department lacks sufficient information about the experience of the Christian communities in Nineveh during that time to conclude that genocide took place. While your office on International Religious Freedom has requested that we provide additional information, it indicated that the final determination of when (or whether) a genocide declaration will be issued concerning Christians will be made at higher levels. We would like the opportunity to explain why the Department’s geographic and temporal focus is too narrow, and to present the available evidence of ongoing genocidal acts against Christians in Syria and Iraq at a level where it can be considered before a finding is made.

Second, a press report by Michael Isikoff indicates that one rationale for excluding Christians is that, unlike Yazidis, ISIS gives Christians a “choice”: They can convert to Islam, pay an Islamic tax (jizya), or be killed, enslaved, tortured, or held hostage. The implication is that ISIS abides by traditional Islamic Sharia, under which other “People of the Book” (Christians and Jews) pay a tax in exchange for protection by their Muslim rulers. We would like the opportunity to explain why this is emphatically not the case.

The Genocide Convention defines genocide as killing and certain other acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” We have extensive files supporting a finding that ISIS’ treatment of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, meets this definition.

They include evidence of ISIS assassinations of Church leaders; mass murders; torture, kidnapping for ransom in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria; its sexual enslavement and systematic rape of Christian girls and women; its practices of forcible conversions to Islam; its destruction of churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and Christian artifacts; and its theft of lands and wealth from Christian clergy and laity alike.

Read this letter in its entirety here. In addition, read these backgrounders: 2013 Report; Between The Barbed Wire. Raymond Ibrahim’s 2013 book, Crucified Again describes the Islamist targeting of Christians around the world.


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