The Islamic State’s (“ISIS”) genocide against Christians and other religious minorities not only continues in Iraq and Syria, but also is spreading around the world. This week, in our ongoing effort to engage the Executive branch in combating this genocide, we sent a letter to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Governor Brownback was recently nominated by President Trump to serve within the U.S. State Department as the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Our letter outlines the appalling atrocities that ISIS is carrying out against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria, as well as details strategies that we believe are key to 1) stopping the genocide and 2) protecting Christians and other religious minority victims.
Our letter informs Governor Brownback that our government has recognized these atrocities as genocide:
Thankfully, on March 17, 2016, then Secretary of State Kerry declared that ISIS is “responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims.” Secretary of State Tillerson reaffirmed this position, stating that “ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims.”
It is indisputable. Our government officially recognizes and agrees with us that ISIS is targeting Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria because of their faith. Now, it is time for our government to act.
In our letter, we emphasize that the official government recognition of this genocide, along with the overwhelming support of the American people – as evidenced through the hundreds of thousands who have signed our petition to stop the genocide and protect Christians – provides Governor Brownback a mandate to immediately engage this issue on behalf of the victims – our Christian brothers and sisters around the world:
As you are aware, “[t]he Office of International Religious Freedom has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy.” Today, the religious freedom of Christians around the world is under significant attack. The Islamic State (also known as ISIS or Daesh) is currently committing genocidal acts intended to destroy and obliterate Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere in the world. The purpose of this correspondence is to bring the plight of these groups to your attention as the newly nominated Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and to request your immediate engagement on behalf of the victims, and in furtherance of justice for the perpetrators. We submit this correspondence to you on behalf of our organizations and more than 326,000 Americans from all 50 states who have signed our petition to stop the ISIS genocide and protect Christians.
With the mandate, you are equipped as Ambassador-at Large for International Freedom to take significant steps toward raising awareness of the crisis and implementing a solution. To that end, we at the ACLJ called for the implementation of a seven-point plan to end the genocide against Christians and other religious minorities, aid the victims, and bring the perpetrators to justice.
We urge Governor Brownback to make this issue a top priority. We must take action now in order to provide the protection these people so desperately need. Our letter concludes:
As a beacon of freedom and democracy around the world, the United States must lead the international community in the fight against the evils of the ongoing genocide. We therefore respectfully and solemnly urge you to prepare as Ambassador-at-Large to recognize and reaffirm that the ongoing atrocities committed by the Islamic State and associated groups constitute genocide and that Christians are among those victimized thereby. Further we ask that you make this a top priority in your new role, and urge you to take all appropriate action to mobilize the U.S. and the international community and swiftly and decisively end the ISIS genocide.
More than 326,000 of you have spoken out and signed our petition. Our global advocacy has led to other international bodies declaring these appalling atrocities as genocide including the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, British House of Commons, and the Austrian National Council. Now, it is time to demand our government act.
Join us. Sign our petition today. Help us stand against and end the ISIS genocide against Christians.
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