I'm not ordinarily one to sign petitions or to encourage others to sign them, but everyone now and again a petition surfaces that simply cannot be ignored. Such is the case with a petition that the Knights of Columbus are circulating to urge our politicians to help Stop the Christian Genocide being perpetrated by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
The text of the petition - addressed to the Honorable John F. Kerry, Secretary of State - reads as follows:
We, the undersigned, believe America must end its silence about the ongoing genocide against Christians and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria.The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines “genocide” as killing and certain acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”Extensive and irrefutable evidence supports a finding that the so-called Islamic State’s mistreatment of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, meets this definition. This evidence includes:
- assassinations of Church leaders
- mass murders and deportations
- kidnapping for ransom
- sexual enslavement and systematic rape of girls and women
- forcible conversions to Islam
- destruction of Christian churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and artifactsISIS’s own public statements take “credit” for the murder of Christians precisely because they are Christian and express its intent to wholly eradicate Christian and other minority communities from its “Islamic State.” Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill noted in their historic joint statement that “whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated.”The European Parliament, prominent members of both political parties in the United States, including presidential candidates on both sides, Pope Francis, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, groups such as Genocide Watch, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and American Christian leaders of a broad array of faith traditions, along with the Christian leaders of Iraq and Syria themselves, and many others, have called ISIS’s actions against Christians in Iraq and Syria genocide.We agree, and implore you to speak up on behalf of these brutalized minority populations. We therefore urge you to declare that Christians, along with Yazidis and other minorities, are targets of ongoing genocide.
I hope you will join me in adding your name to this petition. It only takes a moment of your time.