Obama Administration Poised To Exclude Christians From ISIS Genocide Determination
By Nina Shea, (first published in National Review) A report by a renowned journalist states that Christians are to be excluded from an impending official United States government declaration of ISIS genocide. If true, it would reflect a familiar pattern within the administration of a politically correct bias that views Christians — even non-Western congregations such as those in Iraq and Syria — never as victims, but always as Inquisition-style oppressors. (That a State Department genocide designation for ISIS may be imminent was acknowledged last week in congressional testimony, by Ambassador Anne Patterson, the assistant secretary of the State Department’s Near East Bureau.)
Yazidis, according to the story by investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, are going to be officially recognized as genocide victims, and rightly so. Yet, Christians, who are also among the most vulnerable religious minority groups that have been deliberately and mercilessly targeted for eradication by ISIS, are not. This is not an academic matter. A genocide designation would have significant policy implications for American efforts to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups and for offers of aid, asylum, and other protections to such victims. Worse, it would mean that, under the Genocide Convention, the United States and other governments would not be bound to act to suppress or even prevent the genocide of these Christians.
An unnamed State Department official was quoted by Isikoff saying that only the attacks on Yazidis have made “the high bar” of the genocide standard and pointed to the mass killing of 1,000 Yazidi men and the enslavement of thousands of Yazidi women and girls. Yet to propose that Christians have been simply driven off their land, and have not suffered similar fates is deeply misinformed. In fact, the last Christians to pray in the language spoken by Jesus are also being deliberately targeted for extinction by equally brutal measures.
Christians have been executed by the thousands, Christian women and girls are vulnerable to sexual enslavement, many of their clergy have been assassinated, and their churches and ancient monasteries demolished or desecrated. They have been systematically stripped of all their wealth and those too elderly or sick to flee ISIS-controlled territory have been forcibly converted to Islam or killed, such as an 80-year-old woman who was burned to death for refusing to abide by ISIS religious rules. Pope Francis pronounced their suffering to be “genocide” in July. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a broad array of other churches have done so, as well. Analysis from an office of the Holocaust Museum apparently relied on by the State Department asserting that ISIS protects Christians in exchange for jizya, an Islamic tax for “People of the Book,” is simply not grounded in fact.