Social Conservative Review: An Insider's Guide to Pro-Family News March 17, 2016

March 17, 2016

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At last: The Obama State Department has finally and formally acknowledged that ISIS is committing genocide in the Middle East.  This follows a unanimous vote (383-0) in the House of Representatives on March 14 to “(declare) the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.”

FRC has spoken about this issue for months, even years.  FRC President Tony Perkins, FRC Senior Fellow and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Right Ken Blackwell, the Director of our Center for Religious Liberty, international human rights law expert Travis Weber, J.D., and this author have all called for official U.S. recognition of the fact that ISIS, or “Daesh” as it calls itself, is committing genocide against Christians and other religious groups in the areas where it inflicts itself upon their historic residents.

Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control,” said Secretary of State John Kerry today, “including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions – in what it says, what it believes, and what it does. Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.”

Genocide is defined as “a crime of intentional destruction of a national, ethnic, racial and religious group, in whole or in part” in the 1948 U.N. Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  That genocide is occurring is undeniable, especially in light of a new, authoritative, 300-page report issued by the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians  that documents “over a thousand instances of ISIS’s deliberately massacring, killing, torturing, enslaving, kidnapping, or raping Christians.”

In addition to the atrocities ISIS commits as a matter of routine, earlier this week “Chaldean Catholic bishop Antoine Audo said there were about 1.5 million Christians in the country before the start of the conflict in March 2011. ‘I think now there are maybe 500,000. Two-thirds have left mainly due to the insecurity,’ he told reporters in Geneva. In the embattled northern city of Aleppo, the exodus was even greater, he said, with only around 40,000 of its once 160,000-strong Christian community remaining.”

As Tony Perkins said upon the Administration’s long-overdue recognition of ISIS’s genocidal cruelty, “Now words need to be backed up with actions so that the international community not only speaks with one voice but works to isolate ISIS and those facilitating their reign of terror. Additionally, we call upon Christians to support those non-governmental organizations that are working to provide sanctuary and relief to our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as other religious minorities.”

Tragically, ISIS is a metastasizing entity.  In addition to controlling large swaths of Syria and Iraq, ISIS also occupies areas in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Libya.  ISIS’s plans are audacious, nothing less than world conquest.

What steps the Obama Administration now takes will be critical to the defeat of ISIS and the protection of those it has targeted for annihilation.  Christians should pray that our President and his national security team act wisely, decisively, and boldly to eradicate ISIS, not just “degrade” it.  For the suffering Christians and other religious minorities, time is running out.   

Robert F. Schwarzwalder, Jr.
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Be sure to join us at noon on April 6th for our forum, “Religious Liberty Around the World: Where Do We Stand as of Spring 2016?”  The event will feature remarks by some of the country’s leading advocates for international religious freedom, including former Congressman Frank Wolf (21st Century Wilberforce Initiative), Dr. Thomas Farr (Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University), Tina Ramirez (the Founder and Executive Director of Hardwired Global), and Pervez Rafique (President of Bleeding for Belief, an organization working to stop religious persecution in Pakistan).  Join us in person or register, at no charge, to watch online.

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