It is becoming increasingly clear that the violent extremist group known as ISIL or DAESH is waging a deadly campaign to eradicate all ethnic and religious groups that do not share its gross distortion of Islam, or their cultural ideals.
“Solely because of the faith they practice, Shia Muslims, Christians, Yezidis, Jews, Ismailis, Druze, and others have been forcibly converted, killed, or evicted from the places where their ancestors have lived for hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years. Some face abduction, and others have been forced into sexual slavery,” said U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Michele Sison at a UN Security Council meeting on “The Victims of Attacks and Abuses on Ethnic or Religious Grounds in the Middle East.”
The threat of DAESH transcends cultures, religions, and borders, said Ambassador Sison. “ISIL’s atrocities are not solely targeted against the region’s religious minorities, however. The mass executions of over 700 Sunni Arabs from the al-Sheitaat tribe in eastern Syria last August, over 600 members of the Albu Nimr tribe in western Iraq in October, and approximately 1,700 detained Shia Iraqi air force cadets at Camp Speicher in June, attest clearly to this fact,” she said.
“Promoting religious freedom is a priority for President Obama and it remains a core value that influences U.S. diplomatic engagement worldwide,” said Ambassador Sison. So, we seek to aid those who are under the threat of extremist groups, including ISIL. Since the beginning of Syria’s conflict in Syria, we have contributed nearly $3.7 billion to humanitarian aid for all those impacted by the Syria Crisis. The United States is the primary contributor of humanitarian aid to displaced Iraqis, providing over 219 million dollars since FY2014. The aid goes to those who are in greatest need, regardless of their ethnicity or religious conviction.
“We believe our nations are strongest when we uphold the equality of our people,” said Ambassador Sison. “We, and every country around the world, must therefore be relentless in turning the tides against any effort to sow hatred along sectarian or religious lines, or deprive anyone of equal respect, dignity, or rights based on the beliefs they hold.”