The U.S. Must Act On The Genocide Of Iraq’s Christians
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
August 4, 2017
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Three years ago this week, disturbing images of women and children fleeing the Islamic State in northern Iraq shocked the world. During the siege of Mt. Sinjar, reports emerged of ISIS militants ruthlessly massacring Yazidi men and kidnapping and enslaving Yazidi women and children. Girls were separated by eye color and sold to ISIS fighters based on their preference. Thousands were trapped on the mountain, desperate for food, water and rescue.
Similarly, Iraq’s ancient Christian community was in the crosshairs as ISIS attempted to establish a caliphate. Days after the Sinjar massacre, ISIS seized Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian city with a population of 50,000. Fleeing on foot, many could not escape being killed, kidnapped, or forced to convert. Churches and other holy sites that had stood for centuries were bombed, defaced or destroyed, or turned into torture chambers and weapons storehouses. The full measure of human suffering exacted against these innocent people remains incalculable.
This bloodthirsty campaign targeting ethnic and religious minorities was clearly genocide—a term I do not use lightly. At the time, I and many others urged the Obama Administration to officially recognize the Islamic State’s atrocities for what they were, and then-Secretary of State John Kerry finally did, on March 17, 2016. His declaration that ISIS is “responsible for genocide” against Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities was only the second time in history that a U.S. secretary of state made a genocide determination—the first being Darfur. Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives unanimously passed resolutions denouncing this genocide.
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