Kerry Calls ISIS' Attack on Christians "Genocide"

Sister Marcelline Koch, OP, and Sister Maria Hanna, OP, prioress general of the Iraqi Dominican Sisters, during Sister Marcelline's visit to Iraq in 2015.
Sister Marcelline Koch, OP, and Sister Maria Hanna, OP, prioress general of the Iraqi Dominican Sisters, during Sister Marcelline’s visit to Iraq in 2015.

Kerry’s Acknowledgement of ISIS’ Genocide Gives “Moral Weight”
To Dominicans’ Call for Protection of Iraq’s Minorities, Expansion of Refugee Programs

A Dominican justice group today recognized the value of Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement this morning that the radical group controlling much of Iraq is “Genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions, in what it says, what it believes, and what it does” and that its genocidal intent includes Iraq’s Christians, Yezidis, and certain Muslim minorities.

“Secretary Kerry’s words give moral weight to our perennial call for increased protection for refugees, and the responsibility of the world community—including the U.S.—to fund and staff refugee programs that will offer remedy to Iraq’s internally displaced persons and refugees in countries of first asylum,” the Iraq Coordinating Committee (ICC) said in a written statement.

The complete statement follows.

The committee is a function of the North American Dominicans’ Justice and Peace Promoter’s office, headed by Springfield Dominican Sister Marcelline Koch, OP. The Dominicans have have been committed to justice in Iraq since the days of UN economic sanctions imposed during the regime of Saddam Hussein in the 1990s.

“U.S. Dominicans are deeply connected to the Dominican Sisters, Brothers, and laity in Iraq,” Sister Marcelline said. “Dozens of U.S. Dominicans have participated in delegations in support of our Family in Iraq, whom we have come to know and respect for their faithfulness to the Gospel of peace and their unrelenting sacrifice and service to all people of Iraq through decades of war, violence, displacement, ethnic cleansing—and genocide.” Sister Marcelline was on the most recent delegation to Iraq in January last year.

The statement includes an invitation to donate to a fund that supports the work of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Sienna. Based now in Iraqi Kurdistan, the sisters—who are themselves displaced—serve thousands of Iraqis through the schools and health clinics they operate in IDP camps.

Financial contributions to the Dominican Sisters in Iraq may be made at our secure online donation portal or by mailing a check marked “refugee relief” to Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL, Sacred Heart Convent, 1237 W. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62704. Attn: Sister Kathleen Anne Tait.


March 17, 2016

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Sister Beth Murphy, OP
Office: 217-787-0481
Mobile: 312-780-9553

A St. Patrick’s Day Statement of the Iraq Coordinating Committee,
Justice Promoters for the North American Dominicans

Today we gratefully acknowledge Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion that the action of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is genocide against Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities.

As we prepare to observe the 13th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Secretary Kerry’s words give moral weight to our perennial call for increased protection for refugees, and the responsibility of the world community—including the U.S.—to fund and staff refugee programs that will offer remedy to Iraq’s internally displaced persons and refugees in countries of first asylum.

We call upon all people of good will in the U.S. and around the world to recognize, along with Secretary Kerry and the U.S. House of Representatives, the grave and immediate danger that faces our Iraqi Dominican Sisters and Brothers and the thousands of people they accompany and serve.

It is appropriate that Secretary Kerry made his announcement on the day we celebrate the heroic commitment of Patrick, Bishop of Ireland, to the people who once displaced and enslaved him.

May St. Patrick’s witness embolden Americans to accept the burden of our responsibility for the well-being of Iraq’s people.

We call upon the friends and supporters of our Dominican Family in Iraq to contribute financially to support their work in the refugee camps, schools, and health clinics they organize in Iraqi Kurdistan.

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