Last week history was made as Secretary of State John Kerry announced the United States’ recognition that the atrocities committed by ISIS against Christians, Yazidis, and Shiites in the areas controlled by the terrorist group are indeed genocide.
The State Department had received pressure from multiple entities to make the designation, including Congress. In an omnibus bill from the beginning of this year, a deadline of March 17 was included for the State Department to make a decision on a designation. However, there were doubts whether the State Department would follow through. In a unanimous 393-0 vote prior to Kerry’s announcement, the House of Representatives declared the Islamic State’s crimes as genocide, putting more pressure on the government to act.
On March 17 at 9 a.m. Kerry made the designation stating, “Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims. Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions.”
The looming question the international community now has is, “What’s next?” The designation does not have any binding actions, however there is hope that the designation will increase support to the groups facing genocide by increased military support and allowing refugee settlement in the United States. Now that the United States has declared “genocide,” our hope is that the United States can no longer avoid the atrocities being committed.
Join us in thanking the Lord for working on the hearts of our nation’s policy makers to recognize the crimes committed against those who oppose ISIS’s ideology. We continue to pray for peace and reconciliation in Iraq and Syria, and for the conversion of ISIS’s fighters.