Genocide: Islamic State’s Mass Killings of ‘Unbelievers’

Former Congressman Frank R. Wolf and the religious freedom group, 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, question why President Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have yet to fully declare that the Islamic State’s actions against religious and ethnic minority populations in the Middle East is genocide.
This week Wolf sent a letter to both the President and Secretary General that stated “Genocidal intent can clearly be seen in Islamic State’s ideology and mission which is directed towards the creation of a global caliphate that has been purged of every man, woman and child deemed to be an ‘unbeliever’ through either forced conversion or death. In Iraq, this has manifested most clearly in the insurgency’s actions against Christians and Yezidis. They have been killed, tortured, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery, and forcibly removed from their homeland.”
In January of this year, a team from 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative spent five days in Iraq on a fact-finding mission. The delegation interviewed dozens of displaced Christians and Yezidis and met with senior Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials, religious leaders and humanitarian organizations on the ground. Upon their return they issued a report entitled “Edge of Extinction” warning that Christians, Yezidis, Shabak, Turkmen and other religious and ethnic minority groups face a looming genocide.
And in March the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights released a report on the human rights situation in Iraq that states, “It is reasonable to conclude that some of the incidents, considering overall information, may constitute genocide.”
Furthermore, the report calls for the Security Council “to remain seized of and address, in the strongest terms, information that points to genocide.”
Both the genocidal intent of the Islamic State, as well as its systematic fulfillment of it through killing, kidnapping, slavery, infliction of bodily and mental harm, the prevention of births and the transference of children have been obvious to the global community for more than a year. We must not ignore the suffering of these people any longer.
It is because of these atrocities that the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative believes that what is happening to religious minorities under ISIS rule is genocide as defined under Article II of the 1948 Convention that demands immediate action in order to stop this destruction of human life and desecration of religious freedom.
The “Edge of Extinction: The Eradication of Religious and Ethnic Minorities in Iraq” report can be accessed at
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