The Islamic State has ruthlessly targeted Yazidi minorities in Iraq and the Obama administration has moved to label attacks against them “an act of genocide.” But is the Administration counting Christians as being among the terror group’s victims?
Yahoo News reports that President Barack Obama was prompted by a report released Thursday by the U.S. Holocaust Museum that chronicles the murders of Yazidis, calling it a genocide. Other Iraqi minority groups are also mentioned in the report.
Nina Shea, who is the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, is questioning why Christians are omitted as victims of genocide by the Administration.
“Yazidis, according to the story by investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, are going to be officially recognized as genocide victims, and rightly so. Yet Christians, who are also among the most vulnerable religious minority groups that have been deliberately and mercilessly targeted for eradication by IS, are not,” Shea asserted in an op-ed published by National Review on Friday.
Yazidis are a Kurdish monotheistic community who primarily come from Northern Iraq, and have long been a favorite target of persecution by Muslims in the region.
Shea continued: “This is not an academic matter. A genocide designation would have significant policy implications for American efforts to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups and for offers of aid, asylum, and other protections to such victims.”
“Worse, it would mean that, under the Genocide Convention, the United States and other governments would not be bound to act to suppress or even prevent the genocide of these Christians.”
Shea added that an unnamed State Department official has said Yazidis have met the “high bar” required to be classified as being victims of genocide. But Shea argues Christians must also be included because of the vast evidence that they, too, are being targeted by the Islamic State.
“Christian women and girls are also being enslaved and sexually abused. Three Christian females sold in IS slave markets were profiled in a New York Times magazine report last summer,” said Shea.
“ISIS rules allow Christian sabaya, that is, their sexual enslavement. Its magazine Dabiq explicitly approved the enslavement of Christian girls in Nigeria, and the jihadist group posted prices for Christian, as well as Yazidi, female slaves in Raqqa.”
Shea calls on the White House to support the bipartisan measure House Resolution 75, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., which states that all ethnic and religious minorities attacked by IS are victims of war crimes and genocide.
She accuses the White House, for now, of preempting the bill which she says will “render a grave injustice to the suffering Christians of Iraq and Syria.”
The Christian Post reported last week on the renewed attacks by IS against Syriac Christians, where leaders of the Church have stated that their very civilization and way of life is being threatened. According to Syriac Church leaders, the number of Christians in and around Sadad has dwindled from 15,000 to 2,000.
According to the Independent, more than 2,000 Yazidi women are enslaved by the IS.