A new nationwide survey conducted by Marist Poll finds that Americans are well aware of ISIS’ atrocities against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, and believe those actions to constitute genocide.
By almost 20 points, 55% to 36%, Americans agree that this targeting of Christians and other religious minorities meets the UN definition of genocide.
In addition, nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59%), say they have heard “a great deal” or “a good amount” about the targeting of Christians and other religious minorities in the region by ISIS.
The survey comes just over a week after a broad coalition of religious leaders, researchers and scholars sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging – based on the overwhelming evidence of their targeting in Iraq and Syria – that Christians be included in any determination of genocide made by the State Department.
Also, one week ago, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 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. … 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.
The survey of 1,517 adults was conducted Dec. 1-7, 2015, by The Marist Poll 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.