WASHINGTON, March 2, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Knights of Columbus has welcomed the House Foreign Affairs Committee's unanimous passage of a resolution that would express Congress's judgment that the Islamic State's targeting of Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities constitutes "genocide."
Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus said:
"The House Foreign Affairs Committee has taken a courageous and historic step in giving meaning to the words 'never again.' We applaud the unanimous, bi-partisan passage of H. Con. Res. 75 by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We now look forward to passage by the full House of Representatives, which has the opportunity to be on the right side of history in a bi-partisan manner, joining its voice to those of the European Parliament, Pope Francis, the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom and prominent genocide scholars worldwide."
He continued: "The bi-partisan support of 200-plus cosponsors for naming as genocide the acts being perpetrated by ISIS against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities again shows how compelling and clear the evidence is. We hope that the State Department too will do the right thing and reach the same conclusion in the days ahead, in keeping with Secretary Kerry's statement in 2014 that the situation confronting Christians and Yazidis had 'all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide.'"
The Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians (IDC) is also currently sponsoring an online petition www.StopTheChristianGenocide.org urging Secretary of State John Kerry not to exclude Christians from a declaration of genocide at the hands of ISIS.
The Knights petition was launched Feb. 25 and is being promoted with a new nationwide TV ad cites Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all naming what is happening to Christians in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS "genocide." The fact that what is happening to Christians and other minority groups is genocide is also supported by 55 percent of Americans, according to a 2015 K of C-Marist poll.
The State Department is required by law to make a designation one way or the other on the matter by mid-March.
Signers of the petition "implore" Secretary Kerry "to speak up on behalf of these brutalized minority populations." They conclude by urging him "to declare that Christians, along with Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, are targets of ongoing genocide," arguing that such a declaration meets the criteria established by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The petition has so far garnered almost 45,000 signatures, including those of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; U.S. Bishops Conference President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz; Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals; Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan Prelate, Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy); historian Philip Jenkins; human rights experts and activists; and Hollywood Producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.
The Knights of Columbus — the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization, with 1.9 million members worldwide —began its Christian Refugee Relief Fund in 2014, with a particular focus on the Middle East. To date, more than $8 million has been raised to provide housing, food, medical aid, education and general relief to persecuted Christians and other religious minorities, especially from Iraq and Syria, and to raise awareness about their plight, including through a #40BucksForLent effort launched on Ash Wednesday. Additional information is available at www.ChristiansAtRisk.org
SOURCE Knights of Columbus