Call It Genocide: ISIS Victims Deserve the Designation

Call It Genocide: ISIS Victims Deserve the Designation March 14, 2016

Photo of "The Way of the Cross" a painting by an Iraqi Christian" (Photo credit: Charmaine Hedding)
Photo of “The Way of the Cross” a painting by an Iraqi Christian*
(Photo credit: Charmaine Hedding)


The clock is ticking in the final hours before Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement. Will the State Department make a determination of genocide for the victims of ISIS? And if so, will that critical determination be given only to the Yazidis — who definitely deserve it — or also to Christians and other religious minorities targeted for extinction by ISIS?

According to law, the State Department must make its determination to Congress by March 17. But before that, Congress is set to make its own determination. Scheduled for 6:30 PM tonight, Monday, March 14, the full United States House of Representatives will vote on U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry’s (R-NE) H. Con. Resolution 75 (mentioned in this previous post).

Explaining the rationale for this resolution, Fortenberry said in a press statement on Friday, March 11, “When ISIS systematically targets Christians, Yezidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities for extermination, this is not only a grave injustice—it is a threat to civilization itself. We must call the violence by its proper name: genocide.”

On March 2 the House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed the resolution by unanimous consent. And when it goes to the full House for tonight’s vote, it goes with 203 co-sponsors from both the sides of the aisle. Chances are very good that by tonight, the full House of Representatives will have taken a stand for the Christians, Yazidis, and other victims of the Islamic State’s horrific genocidal brutality.

But will that stand extend to the U.S. State Department? If the House passes the resolution, it will be more pressure on the State Department to come back on March 17 with a genocide determination that includes Christians.

It is absurd to even have to type that sentence! Of COURSE it is genocide. Statements have come out in recent days from several human rights organizations, Christian leadersnewspaper editors, and even top genocide scholars providing overwhelming evidence of ISIS’ genocidal intentions and genocidal actions. Previous to this, international bodies such as the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and others have declared ISIS’ actions to be genocide.

But the Obama Administration has attempted to justify a possible omission of the Christians by basing their determination only on the findings of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s report on the Yazidis. It is also reported that the State Department’s perspective is that ISIS’ actions against Christians can’t be considered genocide because if the Christians pay the jizya, the Islamic tax, they get to live!

On that topic, first of all, whoopee! How noble and magnanimous of ISIS (and every other Islamic supremacist group from the time that Islam starting invading) to allow people to pay a shakedown fee and then be allowed to survive and have a miserable existence as a conquered people, constantly humiliated and reminded of their second-class status!

Second, ISIS is not applying the jizya in the way that is prescribed by Islamic law.  The tax has always been onerous, but it has at least been within the realm of possibility for Christians to pay. The payments demanded by ISIS have been outrageous and nothing that anyone could ever afford to pay. And there have been cases where Christians have paid a “tribute” and then they or members of their families have been killed anyway.

And finally…ISIS is attempting not only to eradicate Christians, but to eradicate Christianity itself from the Middle East. Yazidis, Mandaeans, and the people of all the other religious minority groups are “offensive” to ISIS, but Christians are not just offensive, they are a threat. They know full well that Christianity is the biggest obstacle to their global Caliphate. They know that the “People of the Cross,” which is how they addressed Christians in their “snuff video” of the 21 Martyrs in Libya, are a threat to Islam. And although they can’t stop God from sending dreams and visions of Jesus to Muslims that are resulting in record numbers of converts, they can try to kill all the converts.

You can read about the difference the designation “genocide” makes for Iraqi and Syrian Christians in this article. But to see what is, call it by its proper name, and defend the victims of this evil is not only important for the victims of genocide. It is important for the moral health of our own nation and for our own spiritual health. God said it best (naturally), when He says in Isaiah 58:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
 you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

(Isaiah 58: 6-9, emphasis added)


Here are some prayer resources you may find useful:

Please pray for the House resolution tonight, and especially for the State Department determination on Thursday.

*”The Way of the Cross” is a painting by a Christian from the churches in the Nineveh Plains, now living in a village outside of Dohuk in the KRI. The rivers represent the Tigris and Euphrates, and so the lands that the Christians have lived in for 2000 years. They have always suffered, but always climb the way of the Cross. The snakes represent the evil that they must run from, and the black snake is ISIS.




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