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U.S. Religious Freedom Ambassador Says Labeling ISIS' Atrocities 'Genocide' Won't Change U.S. Response

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Jan 15
  • Comments

The U.S.’s Religious Freedom Ambassador has said that designating ISIS atrocities against Christians as “genocide” will not affect the U.S.’s response to the crisis.


The Christian Post reports that the U.S. State Department’s Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, David Saperstein, denied that labeling the Islamic State’s atrocities against Christians as “genocide” will make a difference in how the U.S. is dealing with the Islamic State’s actions.


"Had we a year ago made a determination about genocide crimes against humanity, it would have resulted in what we are doing [now]," Saperstein, who is a rabbi, said. "You phrase the question, 'Is there significance?' 'Is their importance?' We are doing what we would have done regardless of whether the designation had been made or not."


Saperstein’s claim is consistent with the Obama Administration’s reluctance to label the plight of Middle East Christians as “genocide.”


Many, like Dr. Richard Land, who was a member of the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom for nearly a decade and is now the executive editor of The Christian Post, condemned the Obama Administration’s reluctance.


“They refused to call radical Islamic jihadism, radical Islamic jihadism. It is certainly true that not all Muslims are extremists, but all the radical Islamic jihadists are Islamic," said Land. "So, if something is genocidal, then it should be called 'genocide.' Why avoid telling the truth and speaking plainly?"


Speaking on why the designation of genocide does matter, Gregory Stanton, the founder of Genocide Watch and a researcher of genocide and its prevention at George Mason University, explained:


"Why does the G-word matter? Why not simply call IS' crimes against Christians and others 'crimes against humanity? Genocide' is much more powerful than 'crimes against humanity,' 'war crimes,' 'ethnic cleansing' or these ill-defined terms like 'global atrocity crimes.' Those don't even have a definition in the international law."



Publication date: January 15, 2016