U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) released the following statement after Secretary of State John Kerry announced the administration's determination that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minority groups in Iraq and Syria. The omnibus appropriations bill, which was signed into law in December, established today's deadline for making the determination.
"The Obama administration has finally acknowledged ISIS's horrific, murderous campaign against Christians and religious minorities for what it is: genocide. It's unfortunate that it took an act of Congress for the administration to acknowledge that the undeniable atrocities the world has witnessed, including the murder of more than 1,000 Christians, was clearly intended to eradicate specific religious minorities. Now that it has, the question remains: what is the administration's plan to defeat the terrorist threat and protect the thousands of Christians and other religious groups whose lives are at stake? Dismantling and destroying ISIS is as much a national security imperative as a moral obligation, and I again call on the administration to outline a clear, comprehensive strategy to defeat this terrorist threat."
Blunt has long advocated for religious freedom across the globe. In July 2014, Blunt introduced and Congress passed the bipartisan Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act, which encouraged President Obama to appoint a special envoy to promote religious freedom in the Middle East. The bill was signed into law on August 8, 2014.
Blunt advocated for the release of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini, who was freed from Iran in January, and was closely involved in successful efforts to release Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim and her child from imprisonment in 2014.
Blunt has also cosponsored Senator Bill Cassidy's (La.) resolution (S.Res. 340) declaring that ISIS and its leaders should be charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
Blunt had repeatedly called on the administration to put forth a plan to defeat ISIS, and reiterated that "Congress stands ready to work with the administration to provide the tools and resources necessary to enhance our intelligence capabilities, reinforce the coalition's fight against ISIS, and prevent terrorists from entering the United States."