Knights of Columbus, In Defense of Christians mount genocide petition

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February 24, 2016

Knights of Columbus take part in a procession at St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in El Cajon, Calif., last August. The cathedral is the parish home for Chaldeans who have fled Iraq because of violence and persecution. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec for One magazine) See PETITION-GENOCIDE Feb. 24, 2016.

Knights of Columbus take part in a procession at St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in El Cajon, Calif., last August. The cathedral is the parish home for Chaldeans who have fled Iraq because of violence and persecution. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec for One magazine)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As a mid-March deadline approached for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to make a decision on whether to make a declaration of genocide in the Middle East, the Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, Connecticut, and the Washington-based group In Defense of Christians have mounted a petition campaign asking Kerry to make a genocide declaration.

“America must end its silence about the ongoing genocide against Christians and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria,” the petition says.

It cites as evidence of genocide the assassinations of church leaders, mass murders and deportations, torture, kidnapping for ransom, forcible conversions to Islam, and the sexual enslavement and systematic rape of girls and women, as well as destruction of Christian churches, monasteries, cemeteries and artifacts.

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