On Monday Congress approved unanimously a resolution declaring that ISIS is guilty of committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. The vote by the House of Representatives came as the State Department and White House are facing a congressionally mandated March 17 deadline to make a decision on making a similar declaration. A similar bill is awaiting action in the Senate.
Congressional action came on the heels of Genocide against Christians in the Middle East, a report submitted to Secretary of State John Kerry by the Knights of Columbus and in defense of Christians. Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, states “The evidence contained in this report, as well as the evidence relied upon by the European Parliament, fully support the conclusion that reasonable grounds exist to believe the crime of genocide has been committed.”
In February, the European Parliament declared that genocide by the Islamic State is taking place in the Middle East against Christians, Yazidis and other ethnic and religious minorities. The crime of genocide is defined in international law in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means … acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.
Not only is the Islamic State driving Christians and others out of the lands they have lived in for more than a thousand years, they are determined to obliterate any remnants of their ever having been there, wantonly destroying churches, monasteries, shrines and ancient temples.
I commend members of the House of Representatives and the Knights of Columbus for their efforts to bring this crime, not only against Christians, but against humanity to the forefront. These people, Christians and other minorities, are being systematically slaughtered.
Where is our moral outrage?
I urge you to heed the urgent call from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to support a petition to stop genocide in the Middle East and convince the U.S. Department of State to include Christians in any formal declaration of genocide. The petition is available at www.stopthechristiangenocide.org. Please sign today.