A 278 Page comprehensive report from multiple groups details at great length the case that Christians and other minorities in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East are being targeted and brutally eliminated. The report says the targeting and persecuting rises to the level of Genocide. The term genocide means the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, religious or cultural group.
The State Department and the White House have yet to label this extreme persecution and extermination as genocide for reasons yet unknown. However, they are facing a March 17 congressional deadline to make a decision. There are bills with strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate expressing the sense that those who commit and support violence against Christians and ethnic minorities are committing genocide.
Iraq was just one of the many examples detailed in the report. Over the last few years, the Christian population in Iraq has plummeted from over 2 million to fewer than 300,000. Many of those 1.7 million Christians who are no longer in Iraq were the victims of killings, kidnappings, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rapes, forced marriages to ISIS fighters, or they were simply driven out of their homes and communities. The reason for the targeting was simply because proclaimed Christ and not convert to Islam. Similar atrocities were also noted in Syria and North Africa. The report also documents 125 attacks on Christian churches in Iraq from 2003-2014.
One quote from a report presenter stated, “While we believe this to be the most comprehensive report on this subject to date, covering incidents in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, we continue to receive new reports and new evidence…it may only be the tip of the iceberg.” The report also noted that in Syria, Christians once accounted for 10% of the population, but today the numbers have declined to 1 million Christians or fewer.
Secretary of State, John Kerry was asked recently in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing why the State Department and White House had not yet designated the atrocities against Christians and other minorities as genocide. His response was, “You have to get facts from the ground, more than just anecdotal.” This 278-page report gives the facts from the ground. On March 1, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was also asked why the White House had yet to declare these atrocities as genocide. He responded by saying the word genocide “involves a very specific legal determination that has, at this point, not been reached.” Those who produced the 278-page report say the evidence presented proves the legal threshold for declaring this genocide has been met and then some.
It should also be noted, at this point, that three Presidential candidates have all called upon the president to declare these atrocities “genocide.” Those candidates are Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It should be noted that “Secretary of State” Clinton could have made the “genocide” declaration when she was the Secretary of State but chose not to. However, “Candidate” Clinton is suggesting that designation, which may mean her current “genocide” position, is more political posturing than personal conviction.
At this point we wait to hear from the White House and the State Department!