ISIS’s Systematic Brutality Against Religious Communities Continues
(New York, NY) – As Pope Francis prepares for a peace-building trip to Egypt, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) released a new report detailing the extent of ISIS’s campaign to murder, rape, torture, and displace members of other religious groups.
Pope Francis’s trip comes in the wake of ISIS’s deadly Palm Sunday bombings in Egypt that targeted Coptic Christians, collectively killing 49 people. In the northern city of Tanta, an ISIS bomber detonated his suicide vest inside St. George’s church, killing 27 people. In another ISIS attack, a suicide bomber killed 22 people outside St. Mark’s church in Alexandria.
CEP’s report—ISIS’s Persecution of Religions—highlights ISIS’s ongoing use of genocidal violence and incendiary rhetoric against Muslims, Yazidis, Christians, Mandaeans, and other religious minorities. According to the United Nations, more than 400,000 Yazidis were displaced, captured, or killed since August 2014.
Christians in Iraq and Syria, have been kidnapped, tortured, raped and executed despite ISIS’s assurances that those who pay a special tax would receive protection. Consequently, the Christian population in Iraq has dropped from 1.4 million in 2003 to an estimated 150,000 to 275,000 in 2016. In Syria, the Christian population fell from 1.25 million in 2011 to 500,000 in 2016.
Although ISIS also calls for attacks on non-Muslims outside areas it controls, the majority of the group’s victims continue to be Muslims living in or near the so-called Islamic State.