By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Hillary Clinton) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Hillary Clinton) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

No Longer Uncertain: Clinton says ISIS Killings are Genocide

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate of the United States said that the violence perpetrated by Islamic State against Iraqi religious minorities like the Yazidis can be termed genocide. Clinton made the statement as her answer to a question directed at her in a Berlin town hall in New Hampshire.

The Democratic candidate unequivocally called the horrific events a genocide as there is sufficient evidence to label it so. She added that the unfolding events are clearly genocide, and that is purposefully targeted at annihilating Christian existence along with other minorities in ISIS controlled territory in the Middle East.

ISIS has intentionally targeted a number of religious minorities, including Christians, Yazidis, and Kurdish Muslims while occupying large swathes of territory in major portions of Iraq and Syria. Clinton said that she was asked the same question a few months ago, and at that time she said that the term includes much legal import. It is a weighty concept and the label must be given for the appropriate behavior. This time, there was no ambiguity in her mind as the ISIS is deliberately wiping off existence of religious minorities in that region.

Many scholars and religious leaders were urging President Barack Obama and Clinton to put the genocide label on the uncountable rapes and killings the ISIS does almost on a daily basis. They have put forward the argument that such designation would permit particular actions to be used for stopping it. Labeling it genocide could save lives.

One torture stands out in particular: the targeting of Yazidi women by ISIS. Many women from this community were forced to be sex slaves. Pope Francis has already termed the annihilation of Christians in ISIS controlled territory genocide. The Pope said that Christians are dismayed over how fellow Christians are killed, persecuted and tortured simply for their faith. He made these comments during a recent trip to South America. He said that this is a kind of third world war, waged in installments, and genocide is occurring there. The Pope said that such activities must end.

In 2014, President Obama said that ISIS has given a threat of genocide to a religious minority, but his administration and the State Department was loath to use the genocide term for describing the horrific slaughter of religious minorities inside ISIS controlled territories. The president, however, said a few days ago that he was concerned for Christians who were being tortured by ISIS. 

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter