The brutal targeting of Christians, and other religious minorities by ISIS, continues unabated more than a year after the terror group overtook Mosul and surrounding cities, forcing hundreds of thousands of Christians and Yazidis to flee for their lives. There are currently several efforts urging the United States Government and the international community to acknowledge that these acts could potentially meet the definition of genocide. Letters have been sent to President Obama and the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. There is also current legislation in Congress that addresses this issue.
Over one year ago, as ISIS’ campaign of terror was spreading through the Middle East, Secretary of State Kerry indicated that these acts of violence against the Christian minority showed “all the warning signs of genocide.” Earlier this year, The Pope also expressed concern that the persecution inflicted by ISIS and other extremist groups may constitute genocide: “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”
At a recent forum on the issue of genocide in the Middle East , Katrina Lantos Swett, of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom shared: ”The evil of the past is upon us. The indifference and the willful inability to hear, is something my own family endured.” Her father, the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, was a Holocaust survivor.
Last month, a resolution was introduced in the Congress (H.Res.75) highlighting the atrocities of ISIS. In introducing the resolution, Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb) stated: “Christianity in the Middle East is shattered. The ancient faith tradition lies beaten, broken, and dying. Yet Christians in Iraq and Syria are hanging on in the face of the Islamic State’s barbarous onslaught.”
Several representatives are joining in this call to action, including Anna Eschoo (D-CA) a cosponsor of the resolution. She commented, “The dictionary defines genocide as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. Today these words are a reality as we witness the systematic extermination of religious minorities in the Middle East.”
Open Doors has been working in the Middle East for 25 years and we continue to stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters in this difficult region of the world. We have launched a new Advocacy Campaign, “Take A Stand Against ISIS” where you can sign a petition asking U.S. leaders to strengthen and defend these vulnerable Christian communities. Thank you for your ongoing support of believers facing persecution by ISIS.
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