Christian Genocide: Evidence for Its Designation and Saving Christianity in Iraq
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.-8:45 p.m., April 20, 2016
About the speaker
Andrew Doran is co-founder of In Defense of Christians (IDC), a nonprofit organization that advocates for the protection and preservation of Christians in the Middle East.
He will present IDC’s new, nearly-300 page report on the ongoing genocide in the Middle East, which was presented to Secretary of State John Kerry (read the full report here), and the next steps necessary to preserve at-risk Christian communities in Iraq.
The Syrian conflict has cost as many as 470,000 lives with Christian and Yazidi communities nearly wiped out in ISIS-controlled territory. The Christians who remain in Iraq and Syria are in a desperate plight. The State Department has recognized the genocidal intent of the Islamic State but the UK government and the United Nations continue to deny recognition.
Doran has published dozens of articles about U.S. foreign policy and human rights, with a focus on the Middle East. He previously served at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of International Organizations (IO) on the executive secretariat of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. He is an attorney, armed forces veteran, and lives in the Washington, DC area.
I found it very interesting that in the Wall Street Journal a week ago Monday there was an Op-ed by a former U.S. Ambassador whose son-in-law was killed in the Brussels bombing. So, all condolences to the Ambassador for that loss, but it was interesting in the rallying cry he issued about the forces of civilization gathering to defeat the forces of barbarism. He wants to identify the enemy and what they’re against.
And so he says, “Let’s be clear. This fight is not only against America and Europe and it is not against Christianity.” Well, were that true, there would be no need for such an organization as In Defense of Christianity, which they’re emphatically is. And we’re very privileged to have our speaker here tonight. And we’re also very pleased to have the co-founder of this group and its president, Toufic Baaklini, with us in the back of the room. Thank you for coming, and other members of the staff, Louay Mikhael from Iraq was an advisor to IDC is with us this evening. We’re very happy to have you here.
Now, Andrew Doran is as I mentioned the co-founder of In Defense of Christians and he remains a senior advisor to the group. IDC is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the protection and preservation of Christians in the Middle East.
As you know, this organization – or if you don’t know, I know Andrew will tell you tonight – played an absolutely essential and key role in bringing attention to the issue so that when Congressman Fortenberry introduced the bill in the House of Representatives declaring a sense of the House that there is a genocide in the Middle East, it was introduced at the IDC conference at which I was privileged to be present at the time last year.
And as you know, an extraordinarily unique event happened fairly recently when the House of Representatives passed that resolution unanimously. In addition to which Secretary Kerry of the State Department subsequently declared genocide or designated what is happening there a genocide however, only after the evidence of that genocide was presented by IDC to the State Department in a nearly 300 page report, which IDC did in concert with the Knights of Columbus and that I know is what Andrew is going to address this evening. I just want to point out being a Knight of Columbus in their recent magazine they point to a poll which they commissioned in which the majority of Americans say Christians face genocide in the Middle East. So that message has gotten out and it has gotten out in large part because of this wonderful organization, In Defense of Christians.
Just a few more words about Andrew. He’s published dozens of articles about U.S. foreign policy and human rights with a focus on the Middle East. He previously served at the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of International Organizations – for which [he has] my condolences – on the Executive Secretariat of the U.S. International Commission for UNESCO. He’ll be talking to us tonight about, “Christian Genocide: the Evidence for its Designation and Saving Christianity in Iraq.” Please join me in welcoming Andrew Doran.
Thank you very much and thank you for having me and for that kind introduction, Bob, it’s a pleasure to be here at the Westminster Institute. And, you know, looking around the room and seeing a friend and a victim of genocide, his family is a victim of genocide, here in the room with us, Louay Mikhael, who was a friend and comrade on the ground, steering me around some on several trips and some dangerous places. And now he’s here in our home and his family is here, seeking asylum if I may.
And, you know, I suppose we’ll come to this a little bit later but this is the greatest evil I think on the planet unleashed now before us with ISIL and the victims are not only our brother and sister Christians but our brother and sister human beings, Sunni and Shia, Muslims, Yazidis, all of those people who lay in the path of ISIL defenseless and unfortunately, I’m afraid this Caliphate’s not going away any time soon.
It’s something of an injustice I think to – hopefully a small one – but an injustice to be credited with so much whereas I feel as though we’ve been sitting back, watching so many people do so many remarkable things and of course, great credit to Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Rabbi David Saperstein, a friend and hero who’s led the way on this, Knox Thames at the State Department, and of course, Congressman Jeff Fortenbarry and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.