Ratcheting up pressure on the State Department, Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) supported bipartisan House legislation today to recognize the atrocities committed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, as acts of genocide.
“These Islamists are beheading people across the Middle East and North Africa,” said Shimkus. “They’re murdering innocent Christians and other religious minorities for no reason but the victims’ faith. That, in a word, is genocide.”
Twenty eight European countries, the United Nations, Iraqi and Kurdish governments, as well as major religious leaders have all acknowledged that genocide is taking place in territory controlled by the Islamic State. Despite the global consensus, however, the U.S. State Department has been reluctant to use the word genocide in connection with the crisis in Syria and Iraq.
“The language we use is important,” Shimkus explained. “Beyond the moral and political implications, using the term ‘genocide’ comes with certain legal obligations. The United States is bound by both international treaty and federal law to prevent and punish acts of genocide.”
Today’s vote follows the release of a major report detailing the evidence that genocide is indeed taking place in Syria and Iraq. That report, entitled Genocide against Christians in the Mideast, is available HERE.