Thank God for this development. Raymond Ibrahim
, and others of us have been writing about this for over a year, urging the Obama administration to formally declare Christians victims of genocide committed by the Islamic State. Last Autumn, it seemed Secretary Kerry was prepared to grant that designation only to the Yezidis, excluding Christians in yet another example of President Obama's tendency to side with Islam against Christianity. (See my article on Obama as the 'anti-Constantine'
Regarding the Orthodox Christian position on genocide declaration, I only recall one formal statement by an Orthodox entity in the Americas, that from the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago
back in November 2015. Patriarch Kirill
and Metropolitan Hilarion
(Alfeyev) of the Moscow Patriarchate have both openly referred to Islamic persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa as genocide (while covering for Islam, it is true). Metropolitan Tikhon
of the Orthodox Church in America discussed the genocide issue and its relation to the Way of the Cross, in a compelling address at the Global Forum on Armenian Genocide in April 2015. Forgive me if I have missed any other announcements or news reports.
We hope and pray that this important move by the Obama administration be followed by aid and support for Christians suffering under Muslim persecution, including preferential consideration in refugee processing, immigration, and other means of assistance.
See also my earlier articles on the urgency of declaring Islamic State's persecution of Christians genocide:
|The Islamic State beheads Coptic Christians on the beach in Libya: two of the thousands of New Martyrs under the sword of Islam in the 21st century. (Source: Islamic State Video)|
"In groundbreaking move, US declares Christians among victims of ISIS genocide"
, Catholic World Report
, March 17, 2016:
Washington D.C., Mar 17, 2016 / 08:58 am (CNA/EWTN News
).- Secretary of State John Kerry declared Thursday that Christians, Yezidis, Shi’a Muslims, and other religious and ethnic minorities are victims of ISIS genocide.
Secretary Kerry announced at a news conference that “in my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.” Daesh is another name for the Islamic State, or ISIS.
The announcement is groundbreaking because the term is rarely used to describe ongoing atrocities committed by a state or non-state actor. It is the “crime of crimes,” according to the United Nations, because it involves the intentional destruction, “in whole or in part,” of an entire people.
Thursday’s announcement came after reports from earlier in the week surfaced that the State Department was expected to miss the March 17 deadline for announcing whether or not it would declare genocide. Congress mandated the deadline in the Omnibus spending bill passed in December.
Significantly, the move followed the European Parliament’s declaration of genocide issued in early February. Advocates for Middle Eastern Christians say that the declarations by both the U.S. and the European Union could put further pressure on the United Nations Security Council to declare genocide and refer the matter to the International Criminal Court where the perpetrators could be tried.