As Americans, we’ve become all too familiar with horrific references in the news to the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL. This jihadist militant group based in the Middle East has made clear its intentions to terrorize, kill and destroy anyone who doesn’t adhere to the tenets of Islamic fundamentalism.
To put it bluntly, they seek to dominate the world and will not stop until (according to their magazine) the “Blessed flag [of their organization] covers all eastern and western extents of the Earth, filling the world with the truth and justice of Islam and putting an end to the falsehood and tyranny of jahiliyyah [state of ignorance], even if America and its coalition despise such.”
Christians remain a key target of ISIS. The widespread and vicious persecution of believers in Iraq and Syria, is tragedy of staggering proportions.
Here are some facts:
The vast majority of Christians have already been driven from this region. Their numbers in Iraq and Syria have dropped from an estimated 1.5 million to just 250,000 in the last few years. Christians who refuse to renounce their faith face almost unimaginable consequences—kidnapping, rape, torture, and slavery for those who survive. Untold others have been murdered, often in the most horrifying ways.
What can we do about it here in the United States?
Many people and leaders around the world—Christians and nonChristians, liberals and conservatives alike—are urging the U.S. State Department to classify ISIS’s efforts to exterminate Christians in this part of the Middle East as genocide. To this point the State Department has refused, even as they have indicated a willingness to do so for another persecuted religious minority, the Yazidis.
What’s significant about the “genocide” classification?
The genocide declaration would help persecuted Christians in a host of ways, from increasing humanitarian aid to enhancing their ability to receive asylum to encouraging greater United Nations intervention.
Congress has imposed a deadline of this coming Thursday for the State Department to decide. Please join me in praying for our courageous brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria.
I also urge you to make your voice heard on their behalf. You can start by visiting Stopthechristiangenocide.org.