Edge of Extinction

A few weeks ago, I participated in an event at the American Enterprise Institute called “Edge of Extinction: The Eradication of Ethnic and Religious Minorities in Iraq.” (Video and a description of the event are here.) Our panel discussion was headlined by former longtime-congressman Frank Wolf, whose new group, 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, recently traveled to Iraq and published a report of its findings. The report (which can be downloaded here) covers both the world-historical scope of the tragedy, including the destruction of ancient communities of Christians and others, and the acute suffering of the victims of ISIS’s unimaginable barbarism. It tells of virgins being sold for twenty dollars and of women being separated by eye color so that their ravagers can select according to their preferences.

The report contains recommendations for protecting and restoring these communities of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq, and they are all worthy of consideration. But, as I said in my remarks, the sad reality is that very few of these people are going home. We have the military capability to defeat ISIS but probably not the political will. If so, the best we can hope for is successful resettlement. That is to say, the damage can be mitigated, but, in many respects, it is irreversible. So, for us, it is another hard lesson from history about evil, genocide, and the precariousness of religious freedom and human rights.

About the author

Daniel Mark

Daniel Mark is an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University and chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. For the 2017-18 academic year, he is a visiting fellow at the University of Notre Dame. The views he expresses here are his own and not those of any of the institutions with which he is affiliated.

© Daniel Philpott The views expressed in this forum are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent those of Daniel Philpott, CCHR, or the University of Notre Dame.