During Thursday's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, lawmakers criticized Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama's administration for not labeling the actions of ISIS against Christians in the Middle East as genocide. According to the U.S. diplomat, he and the government still have to go through a few legal matters before finalizing the designation.
One of those who raised the issue to Kerry was Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher from California. She noted that even though the widespread killing and displacement of Christians in the Middle East by ISIS are widely publicized, the U.S. government still refuses to brand the acts as ethnic and religious cleansing, NBC News reported.
Among his responses during the hearing, Kerry said aside from Christians, Muslims who refuse to fight for ISIS also go through the same ordeal in the region.
Jeff Fortenberry, the Republican congressman from Nebraska, also called on Kerry to label the horrendous acts against Christians as genocide. By doing so, the country will be joining other organizations and high-profile personalities in denouncing ISIS' anti-Christian operations. These include the European Parliament, the International Associate of Genocide Scholars, Pope Francis and Hillary Clinton.
"Help restore the rich tapestry of the ancient faith traditions in the Middle East, to stop this assault on human dignity and civilization itself, and to set potentially the conditions that we're all hoping and praying for that reestablishes stability and reintegration of these ancient faith traditions into the fabric if the communities and the Middle East entirely," Fortenberry said during the hearing according to the National Review.
"I think the future stability of the region depends on this," he added.
In response to the growing issue, the Catholic organization Knights of Columbus has launched a petition urging the government to formally address the actions by ISIS as genocide. As stated by the group, more than half of the country's population already agree that the constant attack on religious minorities in the Middle East falls in line with the United Nations' definition of genocide.