Text Size:
  • A
  • A
  • A

Majority of Americans – And Candidates of Both Parties – Say Christians Face Genocide in Middle East


Christians in the Middle East are suffering genocide at the hands of ISIS, say presidential candidates of both parties. Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Martin O’Malley all have used the term “genocide” to describe the situation.

According to a KofC-Marist poll conducted this month, 55 percent to 36 percent of Americans agree with the candidates that this targeting of Christians and other religious minorities meets the U.N. definition of genocide.

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59 percent) say they have heard “a great deal” or “a good amount” about this targeting of Christians and other religious minorities in the region by ISIS.

“The American people, together with presidential candidates and elected officials of both political parties, agree that Christians and other religious minorities are facing genocide in the Middle East,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “With such a bi-partisan consensus, inaction on a declaration of genocide by Congress and the State Department is unconscionable. An entire year has gone by with their silence. The time for action is now — while those being persecuted can still be saved.”

The survey came shortly after a broad coalition of religious leaders, researchers and scholars sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging that Christians be included in any determination of genocide made by the State Department. The suggestion to include Christians in the determination was based on the overwhelming evidence of their targeting in Iraq and Syria.

In addition, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently released a statement urging the State Department to declare what is happening to religious minorities in the region as genocide.

Pope Francis has called the situation genocide as well. During his trip to Bolivia, he stated, “Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus. … A form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, has also urged Congress to pass the “Genocide” resolution, H.Con.Res.75, in a letter dated Sep. 16, 2015.

The survey of 1,517 adults was conducted Dec. 1-7, 2015, by The Marist Institute for Public Opinion and sponsored and funded in partnership with The Knights of Columbus. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed in English or Spanish by (landline and cellular) telephone, using live interviewers. Results are statistically significant within ±2.5 percentage points.

More information is available at christiansatrisk.org.