- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2016

The House of Representatives on Monday will vote on a resolution that would condemn the Islamic State for committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

HR 75 is expected to pass with broad bipartisan support after clearing the House Foreign Affairs Committee with unanimous approval.

The vote comes days before of a March 17 deadline by which the State Department and White House must decide whether to describe the mass killings, kidnappings, rapes and destruction of religious property by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS as genocide. If Congress passes the resolution, it would pressure others to follow suit.

A 276-page report issued by the Knights of Columbus last week urged the State Department to acknowledge the violence as genocide, citing 1,131 Christians killed and 125 churches destroyed in Iraq over the last decade.

Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, said declaring the situation as genocide is an imperative first step in trying to end the violence.

“Bringing H. Con. Res. 75 to the floor and passing it in a bipartisan manner will tell the world that those suffering genocide are not forgotten, and that committing it will not be tolerated,” Mr. Anderson said in a statement. “It will also make clear that the United States is not afraid to call the horror these innocents have faced by its proper name.”

Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has termed violence against Christians in the Middle East genocide, but her successor, Secretary of State John Kerry — who has the final say on whether genocide will be declared — has been more reluctant. The Obama administration has similarly been deliberating over the issue for months.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged the House to pass the resolution.

“With each passing day, the roll of modern martyrs grows,” Mr. Kurtz said in a statement on Monday. “While we rejoice in their ultimate victory over death through the power of Jesus’ love, we must also help our fellow Christians carry the Cross of persecution and, as much as possible, help relieve their suffering.”

The assertion of genocide would carry moral and political weight, as well as additional legal obligations for victims of genocide under international agreements.

Other groups included in the resolution are Yazidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kak’e and Kurds.

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