The Truth Behind ISIS Genocide of Christians

By Hudson Institute, Special for  USDR

Today, Hudson Institute released The ISIS Genocide of Middle Eastern Christian Minorities and Its Jizya Propaganda Ploy, a report produced by Nina Shea, director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious  Freedom.

The report examines genocide waged against Christian minorities by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), by chronicling eye witness accounts, testimony by community leaders, and human rights documentation across northern Iraq and Syria, including the cities of Mosul, Nineveh, Raqqa, Qaryatayn, Khabour, and Idlib. Through testimonial evidence, the report examines ISIS’ claims of offering to respect and protect Christians through an option to pay a traditional Islamic tax or “jizya,” and reveals that “ISIS has never offered a traditional jizya option to Christians  anywhere.”

“What ISIS refers to as ‘jizya’ is actually extortion and ransom demanded from a few Christian individuals, nearly all disabled or elderly, who are now trapped and brutalized,” states Nina Shea, author of the report, in an op-ed published today. “Those who did not escape have been killed or forced to become jihadi ‘brides,’ human shields, slaves, hostages, or Muslims against their will. They are barred from practicing their Christian faith. This is all evidence of the crime of  genocide.”

ISIS uses the term “jizya” for propaganda purposes and to appear more caliph-like, the report  finds.

The findings contradict a recent report by the influential Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria (established under UN auspices) that ISIS recognizes “their right to exist as Christians” within its territory, because it respects them as “People of the Book.” The commission also asserts that ISIS’ attacks on Christians are politically, rather than religiously,  motivated.

“Such assertions, if accepted, would prevent persecuted Christians from falling under the definition of genocide, under the UN Convention on Genocide, and from receiving justice and appropriate relief. It would also mislead the world about ISIS ideology,” Shea said. (On March 17, as a matter of official U.S. policy, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that ISIS was waging a genocide against Christian, Yazidia and Shi’a  minorities.)

The full report, The ISIS Genocide of Middle Eastern Christian Minorities and Its Jizya Propaganda Ploy, can be accessed here: To arrange an interview with Nina Shea, please contact Hudson Institute’s Press Secretary, Carolyn Stewart, at or (202)  974-6456.

Hudson Institute is a research organization promoting American leadership and global engagement for a secure, free, and prosperous future.

Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom promotes religious freedom as a component of U.S. foreign policy by working with a worldwide network of experts to provide defenses against religious persecution and oppression. Since its inception in 1986, the Center has sponsored investigative field missions, reported on the religious persecution of individuals and groups abroad, and undertaken advocacy on their behalf in the media, Congress, State Department and White  House.

SOURCE Hudson  Institute

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