Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that the reign of terror carried out by the Islamic State militant group should be labeled “genocide” against Christians, like reported by indystar.com.
“I believe that ISIS is guilty of nothing short of genocide against people of the Christian faith, and it is time for the world to call it by name,” Pence said at a speech to the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“In Iraq at the hands of extremists, we have actually seen monasteries demolished, priests and monks beheaded and the 2-millennia-old Christian tradition in Mosul virtually extinguished overnight,” Pence said. “In Syria, we see ancient communities burned to the ground, we see believers tortured for confessing Christ and women and children sold into the most terrible form of human slavery.”
Pence said that radical Islamic terror groups also persecute members of other non-Christian faiths and even Muslims who do not share their version of Islam.
But “the practitioners of terror harbor a special hatred for the followers of Christ, and none more so than the barbarians known as ISIS,” he said.
“Know today with assurance that President (Donald) Trump sees these crimes for what they are: vile acts of persecution animated by hatred for the gospel of Christ,” he said.
Pence also promised that the Trump administration will act to protect religions freedom — for both Christians and non-Christians — around the world.
“Since the founding of our nation, America has stood for the proposition that the right to believe and the right to act on one’s beliefs is the right of all people at all times,” the Pence said. “Protecting and promoting religious freedom is a foreign policy priority of the Trump administration.
Trump has been criticized for his willingness to embrace dictators who abuse human rights, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Coptic Christians in Egypt have long been persecuted, and in April, the Islamic State claimed credit for bombing two Coptic Christian churches in the country.
The Rev. Franklin Graham, who organized the summit to bring attention to Christians persecuted worldwide, shrugged off that criticism in an interview. “We are a democracy, but not all the world is going to be able to embrace democracy. You just have to deal with the leaders who are there and work with them,” Graham said.
“You want to try to persuade leaders that have a different opinion,” Graham said. “You want to try to persuade them to your point of view.” Trump, Graham said, may be uniquely able to pursue that kind of persuasion because of his skills as a communicator and a negotiator.