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WASHINGTON — The Knights of Columbus will unveil a detailed report documenting the genocide facing Christians in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS at 10 a.m. E.T. on Thursday, March 10 at the National Press Club (529 14TH St. NW). State Department officials requested that the Knights create such a report specifically on the Christian situation. State is required by law to make a determination as to whether the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East will be designated “genocide” by a congressionally-mandated deadline of March 17.

The event will include remarks by Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, as well as by a panel of experts including:

  • Father Douglas al-Bazi, former hostage, now a priest at Mar Elia Refugee Camp in Erbil, Iraq
  • Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo, Chaldean Catholic Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle of the Western USA
  • Bishop Anba Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom
  • Nina Shea, Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom
  • Prof. Gregory Stanton, Founding President, Genocide Watch

The Knights of Columbus is currently sponsoring an online petition that urges Secretary of State John Kerry not to exclude Christians from a declaration of genocide at the hands of ISIS. The petition has so far garnered more than 50,000 signatures, including those of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz; Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals; Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan Prelate, Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy); historian Philip Jenkins; human rights experts and activists; and Hollywood producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

The Knights petition was launched February 25 and is being promoted with a new nationwide TV ad that cites Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all naming what his happening to Christians in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS as “genocide.” The fact that what is happening to Christians and other minority groups is genocide is also supported by 55 percent of Americans, according to a 2015 K of C-Marist poll.

To date, the European Parliament, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, as well as government bodies in Iraq and elsewhere have designated the situation facing Christians and other minority groups in the region as genocide. Secretary Kerry himself, said in 2014: “ISIL’s campaign of terror against the innocent, including Yazidi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide.”