Obama Administration to Overlook Christians in Iraq?
Washington, Nov 13 – News reports that the Obama administration is considering excluding Christians from its potential designation of ISIS genocide victims, and only including the Iraqi religious minority Yazidis, have left U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees global human rights issues, “shocked and dismayed.”
“ISIS has also committed genocide against Christians,” Smith said. “They have been systematically targeted for murder, torture, rape, displacement – extermination – the President should acknowledge this. I am shocked and dismayed that President would even think to exclude the present day genocide of Christians.”
Earlier this year, Pope Francis stated “Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus. This too needs to be denounced: in this third world war, waged peacemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide – I insist on the word – is taking place, and it must end.”
“Ignoring Christians, and the full range of religious and ethnic groups who have been victims of the ISIS genocide, would continue the President’s policy of silence and weak response,” Smith said. “When will the President actually implement his own Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities and National Security Strategy?”
The “Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities” (Presidential Directive 10, August 4, 2011) states that “Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.” The 2015 “National Security Strategy of the United States” states that “The mass killing of civilians is an affront to our common humanity and a threat to our common security…We have a strong interest in leading an international response to genocide and mass atrocities when they arise, recognizing options are more extensive and less costly when we act preventively before situations reach crisis proportions… we will continue to mobilize allies and partners to strengthen our collective efforts to prevent and respond to mass atrocities using all our instruments of national power.”
Smith co-chaired a 2014 Congressional hearing on the “Genocidal Attacks against Christian and Other Religious Minorities in Syria and Iraq” and has been a long-time champion of preventing genocide, mass atrocities, and war crimes in many parts of the world and holding perpetrators accountable. chrissmith.house.gov