(Austin, Texas) -- The evidence is in, and it's chilling -- the Islamic State is intentionally waging a war of genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria.
The jihadists are systematically trying to exterminate the Christian population in both countries by forcing followers of Jesus Christ to convert to their brand of Apocalyptic Islam or enslaving them, murdering them, starving them, and/or driving them out of the region.
This is the case I began to lay out during a presentation at Life Austin Church here in the Texas capital on Thursday night. It was part of a series of messages I'm delivering across the U.S. on radio, TV and in churches as part of The First Hostage book tour.
For the moment, ISIS is focusing their genocidal campaign on the populations of Iraq and Syria. But this is only the beginning. According to their Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology, ISIS leaders want expand their genocidal campaign throughout Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and the rest of the region in order to broaden their Islamic kingdom or caliphate and hasten the coming of the Mahdi, who they believe will then establish a worldwide caliphate.
Christ also prophesied that believers will see "wars and rumors of war," the rise of "lawlessness" and vastly increased persecution in the last days before He returns to set up His Kingdom. The Lord Jesus specifically warned that the enemies of the Cross "will deliver you to tribulation" in the End Times "and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many." (see Matthew 24) These are exactly the trends we're seeing emerge in the epicenter.
But let's be clear: it's not just Christians who are facing the ISIS genocide. Sunni and Shia Muslims who don't share the ISIS theology and eschatology are also facing this jihadist rampage. So are Yazidis and other minorities. And, of course, ISIS is threatening to exterminate the Jews of Israel soon.
“Palestine will not be your land or your home,” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi told the Jews of Israel in an audio message in December. “It will be a graveyard for you. Allah has gathered you in Palestine so that the Muslims may kill you.”
The situation has worsened dramatically since then.
By February of 2015, the government of Iraq had laid out their case to the U.N. Security Council that the Islamic State was not simply committing atrocities but outright genocide.
"These terrorist groups have desecrated all human values. They have committed the most heinous criminal terrorist acts against the Iraqi people whether Shi'ite, Sunni, Christians, Turkmen, Shabak or Yazidis," Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said. "These are in fact crimes of genocide committed against humanity that must be held accountable before international justice."
Now, just this week, the U.N. has issued a report documenting the magnitude of the horror. Consider the numbers just in Iraq:
18,802 civilians were killed in Iraq between January 2014 and October 2015
36,245 civilians have been wounded during this same period
some 3,500 have been seized as slaves by ISIS
3.2 million civilians have been displaced from their homes and villages, on the run for their very lives
"The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering,”the report states. “The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law. These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”
The U.N. report "details numerous examples of killings by ISIL in gruesome public spectacles, including by shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning alive and throwing people off the top of buildings. There are also reports of the murder of child soldiers who fled fighting on the frontlines in Anbar. Information received and verified suggests that between 800 and 900 children in Mosul had been abducted by ISIL for religious education and military training....ISIL [also] continued to subject women and children to sexual violence, particularly in the form of sexual slavery."
First, the President and Congress must publicly acknowledge that the Islamic State is engaged in genocide.
Second, it is time for Congress to formally declare war against ISIS.
And third, we need to elect a new Commander-in-Chief ready, willing and able to neutralize the ISIS threat, as well as the Iranian nuclear threat before it's too late.
As Jay Sekulow, head of ACLJ, and his team note, "The Holocaust gave rise to the necessity to define what 'genocide' is, and Article 2 of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) did just that," defining it as:
any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
“Christians in the Middle East urgently need this recognition to wake up the world to what is going on," Kuby notes. "In contrast to other diplomatic notions such as ‘systematic mass murder,’ ‘genocide’ is an internationally recognized legal term. It is necessary to call for further steps, such as a resolution at the UN Security Council and a referral to the International Criminal Court....All necessary criteria are fulfilled in order to recognize this as genocide. To deny this only adds to the horrendous suffering that people are already experiencing.”