US moves to declare IS slaughter of Christians as genocide

America’s House Foreign Affairs Committee has adopted a resolution describing as ‘genocide’ the slaughter of Christians by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the Middle East.

In a unanimous decision, the committee moved to “expresses the sense of Congress that the atrocities committed by ISIS against Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

“ISIS commits mass murder, beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture, enslavement and the kidnapping of children, among other atrocities,” said the committee’s chairman, Ed Royce. “ISIS has said it will not allow the continued existence of the Yazidi. And zero indigenous Christian communities remain in areas under ISIS control.”

In a press release welcoming the committee’s move, America’s Knights of Columbus described the resolution as a “courageous and historic step” in defending Christian communities.

The Knights of Columbus are currently engaged in a major drive to gain signatures for an online petition to Stop the Christian Genocide. The aim of this petition is to urge US Secretary of State John Kerry to include Christians when he issues an expected declaration on genocide as perpetrated by ISIS. This declaration will come in the middle of March. So far, the petition has garnered support from high profile figures such as Cardinal Timothy Dolan, presidential hopeful John Kasich and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the US Bishops’ Conference.

On this, Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus voiced his hope that the House Foreign Affairs Committee resolution will now be repeated by the US House of Representatives which, he said, “has the opportunity to be on the right side of history in a bi-partisan manner, joining its voice to those of the European Parliament, Pope Francis, the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom and prominent genocide scholars worldwide”.

The Knights of Columbus petition can be accessed here.