(CNSNews.com) – House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) would not say whether he thinks violent Islamic extremists are engaged in genocide against Middle Eastern Christians, saying instead that he “will wait” for a State Department report due out later this month in order to determine if genocide is occurring.
“The omnibus Congress passed in December requires Secretary of State Kerry to declare by March 17 whether 'violent Islamic extremists’ are engaging in genocide against Middle Eastern Christians and other religious minorities. Should the Obama administration declare that the Islamic State is committing genocide against Middle Eastern Christians?” CNSNews.com asked Hoyer at a press briefing Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
“Look, I think that report is gonna come out pretty soon. I will wait for that report,” Hoyer replied.
“But there is no doubt that the ISIL, ISIS, Daesh, whatever you want to call it, is committing heinous, murderous, criminal acts. And whether they meet the particular definition, which is now what people are looking up - genocide - I want to see the report to see what they say.
“But one cannot condemn in strong enough terms the actions of the people who call themself - and the Arabs call them Daesh, which I think is probably better than ISIL," Hoyer continued. "ISIL is not a state. They just robbed parts of states and set themselves up."
Here is the provision in the omnibus bill requiring a response from Kerry:
d) ATROCITIES PREVENTION.—Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, after consultation with the heads of other United States Government agencies represented on the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) and representatives of human rights organizations, as appropriate, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees an evaluation of the persecution of, including attacks against, Christians and people of other religions in the Middle East by violent Islamic extremists and the Muslim Rohingya people in Burma by violent Buddhist extremists, including whether either situation constitutes mass atrocities or genocide (as defined in section 1091 of title 18, United States Code), and a detailed description of any proposed atrocities prevention response recommended by the APB: Provided, That such evaluation and response may include a classified annex, if necessary.