Bay Ridge

Donovan demands Obama declare ISIS slaughter genocide

March 11, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama Administration are coming under increasing pressure to declare the atrocities committed by ISIS as genocide. AP photo/Cliff Owen
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The torture, rapes, beheadings and other atrocities committed by ISIS against Christians in the Middle East are genocide and should labeled as such by the U.S. government, according to U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, who spoke out on the growing controversy on what to call the destructive actions of the terror group.

Standing with Councilmember Joseph Borelli (R-Staten Island) and local Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders outside a Coptic Christian church on Staten Island on March 10, Donovan said the Obama administration should declare what is happening in the Middle East to be genocide.

“Last year, the world watched a beach turn red as executioners sawed off the heads of 21 Coptic Christians on the shores of the Mediterranean. Last week, terrorists executed nuns caring for the elderly and frail. And in the months between, ISIS has buried hundreds or thousands of slaughtered Yazidis in mass graves. Political correctness cannot stand in the way of our moral obligation to call this what it is: genocide,” Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) said in a statement.

Congress passed a law in December to set a deadline of March 17 for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to determine whether the U.S. will declare genocide.

In early February, the European Parliament passed a resolution recognizing ISIS’s actions as genocide and the House of Representatives is set to vote on a resolution expressing the sense that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

The designation is important, according to officials, who said it could change the way the U.S. conducts its fight against ISIS.

The United Nations defines genocide as: “Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy an ethnical, racial or religious group: killings; causing serious bodily or mental harm; deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction; imposing measures intended to prevent births; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Donovan and Borelli were joined by a group of religious leaders, which included Rev. Father Samuel Boulos, of the Coptic Orthodox Church; Bishop John O’Hara, of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York; Scott Maurer, of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island; Ismail Alaca, executive director of the Turkish Cultural Center of Staten Island; and Rev. Terry Troia, of the Staten Island Interfaith Clergy Leadership group.

Also on March 10, the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, issued a report in Washington, D.C. detailing the reasons why the actions of ISIS fit the definition of genocide.

The Knights unveiled the report at a press conference at the National Press Club. The document had been presented to the State Department a day earlier.

The 280-page report includes interviews with witnesses to atrocities that members of the Knights conducted during a fact-finding mission to the Middle East in February

“There is only one word that adequately, and legally, describes what is happening to Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. That word is genocide,” Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson told the National Press Club.

The Obama administration is coming under increasing pressure over the genocide label. At congressional hearings, lawmakers have repeatedly pressed Kerry, CNN reported.

“I share just a huge sense of revulsion over these acts,” CNN quoted Kerry as saying. “We are currently doing what I have to do, which is review very carefully the legal standards and precedents.”

The White House is giving the matter careful consideration, CNN reported.

“There are lawyers considering whether or not that term can be properly applied in this scenario. It has significant consequences, and it matters for a whole variety of reasons, both legal and moral,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told the network.

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