ACLJ Takes Action, Confronts Another UN Office on ISIS Genocide Against Christians
ISIS genocide against Christians and others is expanding . Ignoring it will not make it go away. In fact, ignoring it helps it spread. And the United Nations has been ignoring it for some time. The ACLJ – through our affiliate the European Centre for Law and Justice – just delivered a legal letter to another critical United Nations office – the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. Our message is clear: stop ignoring the genocide. Stop ignoring the victims. There’s a reason we will not relent in our message. Consider this first-hand account of a genocide survivor whose farm on the outskirts of Baghdida, Iraq, had been overrun by ISIS: They kept us as hostages . . . . [W]e were given a choice between conversion to Islam and pay tribute (jizya) or be killed, and after a while, we gathered our courage and we managed to escape . . . . On 7/27/2014 during the visit to the area by the officials in the Iraqi government, led by the Speaker of Parliament we presented them with what happened to us and asked for their help to no avail. We did the same during the UN visit to the area again to no avail . He continued: I feel we are neglected in the refugee camps and no one cares about us like we are not human. This is why we must speak up. This is why the ACLJ developed its 7-Point Plan to stop the genocide and protect the victims. This is why, as part of that plan, we send letters to pivotal world leaders at the United Nations. And this is why we cannot give up. The United Nations ignored this man in 2014. It’s ignoring him again. We cannot let that happen. In our latest letter to the United Nations, we highlighted this man’s story, and the stories of several other Christians who have survived the ISIS genocide: There was Khalia, a woman in her fifties, who was captured and held hostage along with 47 others. During her 15 days in captivity, she rebuffed demands to convert, despite a gun being put to her head and a sword to her neck. She literally fought off ISIS militants as they tried to rape the girls, and again later when they tried to take a 9-year-old as a bride. Because of the abuse, 14 men gave in to ISIS’ demands and said they would convert to Islam. Khalia would not. Here’s another story: One survivor in Iraq recounted how her family-member was told by the Islamic State that, “if you want to live[,] you will need to convert to Islam so we will not hurt you.” That same survivor also recounted how a nephew defied an Islamic State Sharia Court order not to enter Baghdida by returning “to the city to help the needy Christians in the region and in the third month of 2015 one of the terrorists called me using my nephew’s phone [ sic ] said forget about Ammar and we lost contact with him to this day.” And: Another survivor, a blind man, recounted: “They told me to embrace Islam or be killed.” He also told the story of how the Islamic State kidnapped his daughter and “forced her to become a Muslim and married [sic] one of the gangsters.” We retold this mother’s heartbreaking story: On 09/06/2014 Daesh came into the house and searched it. They gave us the choice to convert or leave and if we chose to leave one of the parents will have to remain behind. My husband stayed in Bartella and I saw him restrained and being beaten in the back of a pickup truck. Then they took my 11 month old daughter and threw her on the couch under the pretext of inspection she began to cry and scream. Then looted the house and took cash and gold then took us to their inspection office [where] one of them came to me and said that  gold coins [were] hidden in a baby’s diaper so they took my baby and threw her against the wall. And this one: Another Christian in Iraq described his reason for leaving his home: “I left due to the announcement of the leader of Daesh Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi that the Nazarene (that’s how they call the Christians) must leave or pay the ‘tax’ (jizya) or become Muslim or get killed.” He explained that his family had not left sooner because they had no vehicle and had handicapped persons with them. Ultimately, they hired a taxi to flee, but were stopped by “members of Daesh” who learned that they were “Nazarenes”: “they robbed us, and took everything we had.” After that, they were dumped on the border “only with the clothes we were wearing and nothing else.” And the story of this woman: [One of the] Daesh men named Abo Hasan came to me and wanted to force me to convert to Islam. When I refused, he took me to the Amir and [he] slapped my face and brought a pot and ax and said I’ll slaughter you if you don’t become Muslim. . . . [T]hey took my husband to a room by himself. After 20 days, he tortured us and forced us to leave Baghdida after they took all of our money and goods to the point that the Amir said that he would cut my finger if I don’t give him my ring. Our letter lays out story after story, report after report, making the case that ISIS’s actions constitute genocide and that the ISIS genocide victims include Christians. We also warned that “the Islamic State’s brutal genocide specifically and intentionally targeting Christians is expanding beyond the region of Syria and Iraq — just as the Islamic State has promised.” This is the bottom line: the victims of ISIS’s genocide are real people. Their stories are real. The terror they experienced and the losses they have suffered are real. We must respond. We must speak for them. We must be their voices at the United Nations – which has the capability to intervene, to stop the genocide, to protect the victims, and to refer the perpetrators of these atrocities for prosecution. The international community – including the United States – made a commitment to stop and to punish genocide. We have a moral and a legal obligation to honor the commitment we made. We’ve taken action before and we will not stop. Just weeks ago we sent a letter to a United Nations Commission addressing the genocide in Syria. Before that, we sent letters to the United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon as well as representatives of the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council. We presented oral and written submissions to the United Nations and European legal bodies and courts. We’ve also sent letters to our own government officials ( here and here ) demanding action and we’ve submitted legal demands for answers on why more action has not been taken. And we report about the genocide regularly (you can see all our articles on the issue here ). You can join us. You can add your voice to ours. You can speak up for genocide survivors like the man who was ignored by the United Nations – the man who felt like “no one cares about us.” Share our reports on social media. Encourage your churches to take a stand. Sign our Petition to stop the genocide.