In November 2011, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a Genocide Warning for Christian communities and other religious minorities in North Africa and the broader Islamic Middle East. The warning was not heeded by western governments. Only in March 2016 did the US government acknowledge that acts of genocide had been carried out. This genocide has the potential to spread unless the international community fulfills their obligation to provide protection to endangered peoples.
Attacks on Religious Minorities Since January 1, 2010
This database tracks violent attacks on religious minorities in the Islamic Middle East since January 1, 2010, reported in reliable press accounts or human rights reports. A violent attack is defined as a killing, an injury, a wrongful arrest or conviction, an abduction, a forced conversion, or an act of property destruction, which can be attributed to the victim’s status as a religious minority. Because not all attacks on religious minorities are prosecuted or publicized, this list is necessarily incomplete.
VOICES FOR RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
“My purpose in appearing before you to today is to assert that, in my judgment, Daesh [ISIS] is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. … Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions—in what it says, what it believes, and what it does. Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.”
John Kerry, Secretary of State, March 17, 2016
“After the outbreak of hostilities in the Middle East, the number of Christians in Iraq has decreased four times, in Syria – dramatically more.”
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, January 17, 2017
“Genocide has occurred and is ongoing. … ISIS permanently sought to erase the Yazidis through killing, sexual slavery, enslavement, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and forcible transfer causing serious bodily and mental harm.”
Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chairman of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria, June 16, 2016
“What is happening to Christians in [the Middle East] is the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing.”
Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, UK, July 25, 2014
“We see the Middle East emptying of its historic Christian populations.”
Robert P. George, chairman, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, January 6, 2014
“Christian populations are plummeting and the religion is being driven out of some of its historic heartlands. In some places, there is a real danger that Christianity will become extinct.”
Baroness Sayeedi Warsi, UK Minister of State at the Foreign Office, November 15, 2013
“It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants.”
Charles, Prince of Wales, December 17, 2013
“We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians.”
Pope Francis I, November 21, 2013
“Wherever they are, the Christians of the East are not only threatened, but hunted down and liquidated.”
Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister, October 1, 2013
“The future of Christians in the Middle East is very bleak. What has happened in Iraq and Syria is de facto ethnic cleansing of Christians.”
Neil Hicks, Human Rights First, April 2, 2013
“The Commission has received credible reports of anti-Government armed groups attacking Alawites and other pro-Government minority communities [in Syria]. …Entire communities are at risk of being forced out of [Syria] or of being killed inside the country.”
UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, December 2012
“The next genocide in the world will likely be against the Alawites in Syria.”
Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith, November 2012
“Growing numbers of foreign Sunni extremist fighters are battling not just to rid Syria of Mr. Assad, but to religiously cleanse it.”
Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, November 15, 2012
Christianity is “the most persecuted religion worldwide.”
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, November 5, 2012
“The position of Christians in the region [the Middle East] is more vulnerable than it has been for centuries.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, December 9, 2011
“We are facing religious cleansing in parts of the Middle East.”
John Patten, Member of the House of Lords, December 9, 2011
“We cannot accept and thereby facilitate what looks more and more like a particularly perverse program of cleansing in the Middle East, religious cleansing.”
Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, January 6, 2011
“Massacres are taking place for no reason and without any justification against Christians. It is only because they are Christians. What is happening to Christians is a genocide.”
Former Lebanese President Amine Gemayal, January 3, 2011
“There is now a serious risk that Christianity will disappear from its biblical heartlands.”
Civitas Report, December 2012
Find out what CSI is doing to help Middle East communities threatened with genocide: CSI Field Projects.
UNIVERSAL CONDITIONS FOR GENOCIDE
- Public display of ethnic and religious differences through physical features, language and communal symbols.
- Absence in multi-religious and/or multi-ethnic societies of strong integrating institutions.
- Absence of the rule of law and presence of authoritarian traditions of governance.
- Deep-seated insecurity on the part of ruling elites.
- Widespread perception of vulnerable religious and ethnic groups as potential agents of politically subversive powers.
- Prevalence of a racially or religiously discriminatory ideology or worldview that upholds a utopian vision of a homogenous society as the foundation of political unity.
- Institutionalization of racial or religious discrimination in statute law or social custom.
- Widespread communication by state and/or non-state actors of hateful propaganda that portrays members of religious or ethnic communities as subject peoples, aliens within society, or as subhuman creatures.
- Outbreaks of organized violence by mobs or individuals against members of vulnerable religious or ethnic communities.
- Habitual denial of discrimination by state and non-state actors that engage in oppressive practices, including violence, against vulnerable groups in society.
- Widespread militarization of society and/or widespread influence of non-state terrorist groups or militias.