Six Reasons Why ISIS Attacks on Christians Should Be Declared Genocide

When should we politicize persecution?
Six Reasons Why ISIS Attacks on Christians Should Be Declared Genocide
Image: Knights of Columbus / YouTube
An ISIS member smashes a cross on a church altar.

This evening, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously that groups such as ISIS are committing genocide against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East.

By Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry must tell Congress (thanks to a separate measure) whether the State Department agrees or not.

CT asked international religious freedom experts to weigh in on whether Christians face genocide from ISIS. Or rather, is such a contentious political label really needed in order for the United States to respond to the ISIS crisis?

Here are six of their arguments for why the answer is yes.

Yes, because it will prompt international action.

“It matters because it will bring pressure—mainly moral, but some legal—on a reluctant administration to take decisive action against ISIS. If in fact this factor is what is deterring the administration from making a firm decision on genocide—one that includes Christians with other targeted minorities—that is deplorable. A genocide declaration should be a slam dunk—legally, politically, and morally—for any reasonable person or institution.”
Thomas Farr, director, Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

Yes, because it will encourage more aid.

“[We] supports the need for a genocide resolution because additional resources can be offered to protect those targeted. The genocide convention is a treaty to which many countries around the world have ascribed, and a declaration that genocide is taking place is a new and so far unused tool to mobilize protection to the affected minorities. The failure to protect those populations suffering from genocide cannot be accepted by governments. ...

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