March 10, 2016

Knights of Columbus report: ISIS committing Christian ‘genocide’

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A volunteer from the Yazidi sect who has joined the Kurdish peshmerga forces walks with his weapon in the town of Sinjar, Iraq, on Nov. 16, 2015. Before it was overrun by the Islamic State group, Sinjar and the surrounding villages were home to about 200,000 people, mainly Kurdish and Arab Muslims -- both Sunni and Shiite -- as well as Christians and Yazidis, a faith that combines elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. Now the town is largely deserted. But in a row of houses used by Islamic State fighters, there were signs of recent occupation: a smell of rotting food, and foam mattresses and pillows laid on the floor. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MIDEAST-CHRISTIANS, originally transmitted on March 10, 2016.

A volunteer from the Yazidi sect who has joined the Kurdish peshmerga forces walks with his weapon in the town of Sinjar, Iraq, on Nov. 16, 2015. Before it was overrun by the Islamic State group, Sinjar and the surrounding villages were home to about 200,000 people, mainly Kurdish and Arab Muslims -- both Sunni and Shiite -- as well as Christians and Yazidis, a faith that combines elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. Now the town is largely deserted. But in a row of houses used by Islamic State fighters, there were signs of recent occupation: a smell of rotting food, and foam mattresses and pillows laid on the floor. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MIDEAST-CHRISTIANS, originally transmitted on March 10, 2016.

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Knights of Columbus has issued a 280-page report declaring that the Islamic State group is committing “genocide” against Christians and other religious groups in the Middle East and urging the U.S. State Department to use that term to describe its actions.

Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson said his Catholic fraternal organization, working in partnership with the group In Defense of Christians, does not contend Christians alone are facing genocide from the group known as ISIS but it believes the State Department must include them.

“The United States government should not exclude Christians from such a finding,” he said at a news conference Thursday (March 10). “Doing so simply would be contrary to the facts.”


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At the request of senior State Department officials, the Knights of Columbus issued the report detailing how Christians have been the victims of killings, kidnappings, rapes and destruction of religious property. It included a list of 1,131 Christians killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2014, and 125 churches attacked there in the same period.

Gregory Stanton, president of Genocide Watch, joined Anderson on a panel of experts supporting the findings of the report and the use of the word “genocide.”

Nina Shea, a religious freedom expert at the Hudson Institute, joined a panel of experts supporting the findings of the “Genocide against Christians in the Middle East” report on March 10, 2016 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks.

Nina Shea, a religious freedom expert at the Hudson Institute, joined a panel of experts supporting the findings of the “Genocide against Christians in the Middle East” report on March 10, 2016 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

“The truth is, the word’s moral force is the reason for this word to be used,” said Stanton, the former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

Nina Shea, a religious freedom expert at the Hudson Institute, called the report the “largest compilation in existence of what has happened to Christians in the path of ISIS.”

In response to a question from RNS, a State Department official, who was not authorized to be identified by name, said, “Regardless of whether Da’esh’s conduct satisfies certain legal definitions, including genocide and crimes against humanity, the United States has been clear that our interest in accountability for perpetrators remains undiminished.”

(Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national reporter for RNS)

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  • Last I knew, killing off people based on their genetics (aka ethnicity) is “genocide.” Killing them off based on their religion is “religicide.” Why is the wrong word being used … and quite prominently at that? Are there no dictionaries at the Knights of Columbus?

    Also, another point that needs to be made, militant Islamists are also killing other Muslims, too. As it turns out, they’re often indiscriminate in their slaughter. Anderson is lampshading this when he says the KoC “does not contend Christians alone are facing genocide from the group known as ISIS.” I’d like to know, why is it only a problem when they kill Christians? Is it OK for them to kill as many Muslims as they like?

    Just goes to show how Christians are. When other people of other faiths either kill or die for their religions … well, no biggie. But when Christians die, holy crap, it’s intolerable, let’s nuke the desert until it glows, etc. Hypocrites!

  • Ibrahim

    While tragic, 1,131 deaths over 12 years is less than 2 deaths a week. Over 1 million people died from a war initiated by the brother of a Knight of Columbus (Jeb Bush).

  • MarkE

    Well, if we’re going to redefine the word Genocide to mean more than standard definition (Geno=tribe or clan, Cide=kill or destroy), then we’d better be ready to use it to talk about our own history (Native American cultures and tribes during the settlement of the east and the westward expansion), as well as against African/black slave culture.

  • patrick

    “ …. the Knights of Columbus issued the report detailing how Christians have been the victims of killings, kidnappings, rapes and destruction of religious property. “

    Turn the clock back some 900 yrs, and substitute “ Muslims “ for “ Christians “ in the above – and we have an excellent description of the 200 yr long Roman Christian Crusades.

    The Christians killed Muslims because they were Heretics.

    The Muslims kill Christians because they are Infidels.*

    And please spare me the simplicity of stating : “ Not ALL Christians, and not ALL Muslims etc….”

    * It always takes a while to get even.

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  • Jay

    Look on the good side: at least the Knights of Columbus have something to spend their money on than their futile and hateful crusade against same-sex marriage. The National Organization for Marriage is no doubt weeping at the diversion of some of the massive amounts of money the K of C has given them to another cause.

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  • April

    PsiCop…Your last words paragraph 1 Are there no dictionaries with you PsiCop?
    I can’t use religicide, there is no such word. Try to look it up…. “last you knew” because I did. I did your research you did not. A dictionary definition of the one in quiestion….notice the “especially those of” part:
    Genocide noun 1. the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. synonyms: mass murder, mass homicide, massacre, annihilation, extermination, …
    and a 2nd source for confirmation it wasn’t a fluke the first time… http://www.thefreedictionary.com/genocide gen·o·cide (jĕn′ə-sīd′) n. The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of a national, racial, religious, or ethnic group. [Greek) Now that the Last you knew is this…. Religicide I did have to laugh at, Hit a search engine. Do you like making up words? It is not there. I love using the internet I read on for research. Now onto your next…

  • April

    Reply part 2 to PsiCop. To understand and not call people hypocrites and vent…. this is what the whole “Washington DC” defining it AS genocide (what they were doing…. not defining genocide, mind you….) meant. why do it, in others words. three news stories in Yahoo News gathered show all, to everyone. Read them 1,2,3… then make comments much more appropriate. Hope this helps PsiCop, others. Peace to you, and love. Always. (One of those Christians) Story 1 Feb 24th 2016 https://www.yahoo.com/politics/kerry-weighs-genocide-label-for-islamic-state-014813753.html
    Story 2 March 4th 2016 https://www.yahoo.com/politics/pressure-mounts-on-obama-to-call-islamic-state-163109049.html and Story 3 RESULT March 17th 2016 is at https://www.yahoo.com/politics/isis-committing-genocide-against-christians-144946484.html ty Knights of Columbus for the proof so we designate this ISIS group for who they are. Thank you Kerry and US for stepping up…not the right thing, it was the ONLY one to…

  • April

    Good point on the numbers, Ibrahim. This is a document so whatever numbers had not been included (Christian ones) were added to the MANY more also, for the “genocide” declaration against ISIS.
    It is not a story of how little or how many, it is a story of Look what ISIS has done. Period. And include all they have done this to. The total count of all. Currently happening so that something can be done. So you hold jeb bush accountable for a war, and 1 million dead? And that he initiated it? Not making fun, but imagine if jeb bush then joined others like him, naming themselves isis2 ? And were doing it at this very moment…. and we had the power in our national ways, to hold them accountable, and even take steps to stop them. That is what the story is about. Not trying to find someone who killed more, or was a certain part of a certain group who later in life wrote a report that saved further lives.guess I’d point out Hitler killed more,but typing his big numbers into Knights, isnt…

  • April

    MarkE the definition has always been out there, no redefining needed. I refer you to my 2 dictionary comments up there, to PsiCop. Also this wasn’t anything to do with “what is genocide”. It was “Include the total of number people killed by ISIS, the killing is mass murder (what genocide is)….. AND also include the Christians. That was all it was, get a full, total, complete account and designate ISIS so…. meaning, yes, add the Christians along with all the other groups.
    .
    It was about that treaty same as with HITLER, hold them accountable with this Declaration. We have now as the US, with Kerry, recently done so.(There are more we did not find out about of all groups I am sure) Let’s stop new ones from being added to those we know….and don’t know of.

  • April

    patrick if we turn our clocks back some 900 years like you said, can we help save them, save more of them? If we turn our clocks back to before 1948 and Hitler, can we save those millions, save more of them?
    This is 2016, this “designation of declaration” against ISIS will stop them better, at least, for it calls on others to take action against it, like we used it in 1948 against Hitler, and held accountable those doing such.
    we maybe can’t save ANY already gone, but in this, we can save more of them than until this point was none of them…. we were watching, mostly.
    Perhaps saving “some of them” can help save “more of them” in the future.

    I can’t agree with your statement, for if we go by what you stated, why do anything at all, ever? Not for us here and now in the year 2016, because you can…….Just….. turn the clock back 900 years…. or to 1948…. just don’t ask…. “what time is it NOW” from patrick. I am a Christan. Being so I would never say ALL…

  • April

    Hi jay
    Had to comment on your comment.
    I read it fully. I know nothing of the Knights of Columbus.
    I came commenting on the story of what the document they did compile, finally helped in getting a “genocide declaration on ISIS” which, also added and included the Christians there also, for a full picture of just how many in total are in the genocide.
    But…..
    I think what I am about to reveal is going to make you smile, I think…. I read aloud all of your comments out here, and when I got you your K of C… it hit my brain funny and I thought “What does the KFC” Kentucky Fried Chicken have to do with this with money they give…. then I went…. oh…. K of C…. not K F C…. sounds identical when you are speaking it. hee hee That joke is on me, I must be sitting here reading, and…. hungry for chicken. (blushes) Have a great day, Jay.

  • Re: “Genocide noun 1. the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.”

    Note the mention of “a particular ethnic group or nation.” Targeting people based on their religion, is by definition neither of those things. A lot of Christians in places like Iraq and Syria are ethnic Arabs and members of the same nation as the Muslims who’re targeting them.

    So my question remains unanswered. Why is this being called “genocide” when it is not “genocide” at all, but “religicide”? Either you have the courage to admit the word is being purposely misused (yes, misused by John Kerry as well as the KoC), or you don’t. Either way, it’s your choice.