NEW HAVEN, Connecticut /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — By a wide margin, most Americans agree with the presidential candidates of both parties in calling ISIS’ atrocities against Christians in the Middle East “genocide,” according to a Knight of Columbus-Marist poll conducted this month.
Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Martin O’Malley have all called the situation genocide.
By almost 20 points, 55 percent to 36 percent, Americans agree that this targeting of Christians and other religious minorities meets the U.N. definition of genocide.
In addition, nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59 percent), 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 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 Knights of Columbus CEO 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 – 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.
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, in a letter 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.