Neither Clinton Nor Trump Mentioned Islamic State Genocide of Christians in Debates

By Lauretta Brown | October 10, 2016 | 1:51pm EDT
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens in the background. (AP Photo)

( – During the second presidential debate on Sunday, neither Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton or Republican nominee Donald Trump mentioned the ongoing genocide that the Islamic State is committing against Christians in Iraq and Syria.

Congress has passed a resolution declaring that the Islamic State is committing genocide gainst Christian and other religous minorities in territories it controls, and Secretary of State John Kerry declared that that was the case in March.

While the term genocide has not been used in either of the presidential debates, both candidates have called the Islamic States actions against Christians in the Middle East genocide in the past year while on the campaign trail.

Clinton called ISIS atrocities against Christians “genocide” in response to a question by a New Hampshire voter in December. More recently, Trump outlined atrocities against Christians, calling for an end to the “campaign of absolute and total genocide” by ISIS when he unveiled his anti-terrorism plan in August.

Trump said of ISIS atrocities during the debate Sunday, “we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have — and, frankly, drowning people in steel cages, where you have wars and horrible, horrible sights all over, where you have so many bad things happening, this is like medieval times. We haven’t seen anything like this, the carnage all over the world.”

Clinton said during the debate that she intends to defeat ISIS “in a coalition with majority Muslim nations” and also discussed arming the Kurds, saying “they should have the equipment they need so that Kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principal way that we take Raqqa after pushing ISIS out of Iraq.”

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a watchdog group dedicated to protecting religious and constitutional freedoms in the U.S. and around the world, sent letters last week to Trump and Clinton, as well as to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein, asking that they provide Americans with a “clear and detailed plan of action” for ending the genocide and “make a public commitment” to putting that plan into action. 

The letter also highlighted the group’s petition, which now has 219,627 signatures calling for advocacy and policy changes on the part of the U.S., the U.N., and world leaders to stop the genocide.

“The Obama Administration acknowledged that the atrocities, in fact, constitute genocide but has done little to stop it,” the group wrote. “This ongoing genocide will be one of the biggest issues facing our next President.”

Another Christian persecution watchdog group, Open Doors USA, launched a petition back in August asking Clinton and Trump to voice a specific plan of action to address the persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria and around the world.

Their petition points to a Harris/Nielson Poll showing that three out of four Americans “believe that it is important that the next U.S. president be committed to addressing the persecution faced by Christians and others suffering for their faith around the world.”

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