by Thomas Reese, S.J., NCR
Thirty Christian leaders, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, have written a letter to Secretary John Kerry calling on the State Department to include Syrian and Iraqi Christians among those listed as victims of genocide by the Islamic State group (also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh).
“We recently learned that a State Department finding is imminent that ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidis,” an Iraqi ethnic and religious group whose villages were attacked by the Islamic State group. “We would wholeheartedly endorse that finding, but we are deeply troubled by the prospect that the Department’s statement will either omit or reserve judgment on whether ISIS is committing genocide against Christians” in its territories.
The signers of the Dec. 4 letter asked for a meeting with Kerry “to present the available evidence of ongoing genocidal acts against Christians in Syria and Iraq at a level where it can be considered before a finding is made.”
“ISIS genocidal campaign against Christians continues today,” states the letter, “with hundreds of Christians remaining in ISIS captivity, and with summary executions, including by beheadings and crucifixions, occurring as recently as only a few months ago.”
“Pope Francis has called ISIS’ crimes against Christians by their proper name: ‘genocide,'” says the letter. “The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Christian leaders in the Middle East have done so as well. We agree, and are hopeful that, once you have seen the evidence, you will too.”…